As of now, Goals 1, 3 are done. Results of it can be seen below, a little bonus for Dark Souls fans 

The small brightness changes isn't actually visible to the naked eye, probably just aliasing between by phone camera and the refresh rate of the matrix. Note that I don't own this kick-ass GIF, all credits goto the original artist.

I have a working Python script which achieves all the goals of (2), phone application is a Work-in-progress. Haven't put up code yet, it's still a bit messy and needs clean-up :) 

I also need a decent LED diffuser, any recommendations?