[oldSetting, status] = AutoBrightness([screenNumber=0][, newSetting])
AUTOBRIGHTNESS Get and set the “Automatically adjust brightness” checkbox
on the Mac OS X: System Preferences: Displays panel. The function
argument “newSetting” (integer 0 or 1) indicates whether you want to turn
the autobrightness feature on (newSetting==1) or off (newSetting==0). If
you call without an argument (or anything other than 0 or 1) then nothing
is changed. The current state is always reported in the returned
oldSetting (0 or 1). The optionally returned “status” is always zero
unless the applescript failed.
If the user has not yet given permission for MATLAB to control the
computer (in System Preferences:Security & Privacy:Accessibility), then
the AutoBrightness applescript will put up a helpful alert and wait for
the user to enable control. CAUTION: Call AutoBrightness BEFORE you open
a Psychtoolbox window: If the alert window is hidden by a Psychtoolbox
window, then the user won’t know that the program is waiting for him or
her. For this reason the AutoBrightness function will abort with an error
if you try to call it while an onscreen window is already open.
AutoBrightness.m uses AutoBrightness.applescript to allow you to turn off
a pesky feature of Apple’s liquid crystal displays. In Mac OSX, this
feature is manually enabled/disabled by the”Automatically adjust
brightness”checkbox in theSystem Preferences: Displays panel. While the
feature is enabled, your Mac slowly adjusts the screen luminance of your
Apple liquid crystal display, depending the the luminance of the room.
That’s bad for screen calibration, and perhaps also bad for your
experiments. My AutoBrightness routines allow your programs to read the
on/off setting of that feature, and enable or disable it. For use in
MATLAB, please put both files anywhere in MATLAB’s path. I hope they will
be added to the Psychtoolbox.
Written by email@example.com for the Psychtoolbox, May 21, 2015.
This Psychtoolbox MATLAB function calls my AutoBrightness applescript,
which allows you to temporarily disable a feature of Apple Macintosh
laptops that is undesirable for vision experiments and display
calibration. The applescript is equivalent to manually opening the System
Preference:Displays panel and clicking to turn on or off the “Automatic
brightness adjustment” checkbox. I wrote the script to be invoked from
MATLAB, but you could call in from any application. One important use of
the script is to prevent changes of brightness in response to the room
luminance while calibrating a display. The automatic adjustments are
slow, over many seconds, which could invalidate your display calibration.
When “Automatically adjust brightness” is checked, the Mac OS uses the
video camera to sense the room luminance and slowly dims the display if
the room is dark. It does this by adjusting the “brightness” setting,
which controls the luminance of the fluorescent light that is behind the
liquid crystal display. I believe that the “brightness” slider controls
only the luminance of the source, and does not affect the liquid crystal
itsef, which is controlled by the color lookup table. The luminance at
the viewer’s eye is presumably the product of the two factors: luminance
of the source and transmission of the liquid crystal, at each wavelength.
INSTALLATION. To work with MATLAB, please put both files anywhere in
MATLAB’s path. I hope they will be added to the Psychtoolbox.
CAUTION. This uses the “System Preferences: Displays” panel, which takes
30 s to open if it isn’t already open. I set up the AutoBrightness
applescript to always leave System Preferences open, so you won’t waste
your observer’s time waiting 30 s for System Preferences to open every
time you call AutoBrightness.
BRIGHTNESS. Psychtoolbox for MATLAB and Macintosh already has a Screen
call to get and set the brightness, so we don’t need applescript for
that. The Psychtoolbox call is:
[oldBrightness]=Screen(‘ConfigureDisplay’,’Brightness’, screenId [,outputId][,brightness]);
APPLE SECURITY. The first time any application (e.g. MATLAB) calls
AutoBrightness.applescript, the request will be blocked and an error
dialog window will appear saying the application is “not allowed
assistive access.” This means that the application needs an
administrator’s permission to access the System Preferences. A user with
admin privileges should then click as requested to provide that
permission. This needs to be done only once (for each application).
MULTIPLE SCREENS: All my computers have only one screen, so I haven’t
implemented support for multiple screens. I think that would be
straightforward. I would add a second, optional, argument that specifies
LINUX and WINDOWS. Applescript works only under Mac OS X. When running
under any operating system other that Mac OS X, this program ignores the
newSetting argument and always returns zero as the oldSetting. It is
conceivable that Apple’s auto brightness feature is implemented on
Macintoshes running Linux or Windows. If that applies to you, please
consider enhancing this program to return a correct answer for that case,
and sharing the result with me and the Psychtoolbox forum.