This 5mm Water-clear Phototransistor will pick up visible and infrared light and conduct current. When light reaches this high sensitive/fast response time component it's much like current reaching the base of a transistor which allows current to flow from collector to emitter.
Unsure of how to interface RGB strips to your own microcontroller? Why not go with this ready-to-go remote controlled LED controller! Comes with a small remote that allows you to use wireless infrared signals to change the RGB strip color and lighting effects.
FreeM is a wireless Infrared I2C controller for completely stand-alone programming and control of BlinkM smart LEDs. It's like an invisible wire linking a Remote, a LinkM, and/or an Arduino to BlinkMs.