At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2008, New Yorkers and people around the world will ring in the New Year under the glow of a brighter and more energy-efficient Times Square Ball illuminated by cutting-edge LED technology.

“For the first time in history, New Year’s Eve’s most iconic image, the Times Square Ball, will be lit by LEDs,” says Govi Rao, chairman and chief executive officer of Lighting Science Group (LSG), the company responsible for making it possible.

Lighting Science Group (LSG) was commissioned by Philips Lighting to develop an LED lighting system to deliver the first environmentally friendly, brighter, more responsive New Years Eve Ball, while maintaining the core lighting elements of the old Ball. The new Ball is 6 feet in diameter and weighs 1,200 pounds, and consists of 9,576 Philips’ LEDs and 672 of Waterford’s double-cut crystals.

“Lighting Science was selected as a partner by Philips because we have a proven track record of successfully managing very complex LED projects from design to execution. In addition, we have unique capabilities to design and integrate hardware and software solutions, including optics, thermal management, power supplies, and drivers that control LEDs and provide a completely integrated solution,” adds Rao.

The new Ball incorporates both colored and white LEDs. The colored LEDs were designed to consume only 1-2W of energy while delivering the same light output as last year’s 40W colored incandescent bulbs.

Rao continues, “LEDs are the most responsive, and among the most energy efficient lighting technologies ever created. Finding a way to integrate the flexibility of all the Ball’s elements with the vision of the lighting designers was a unique challenge for LSG. Our engineers were able to create an integrated package that highlights all the best features of each element, the Philips LEDs and the Waterford Crystals to generate breathtaking displays, and lighting effects.”

Countdown Entertainment, owners of the Time Square New Year’s Eve event, commissioned Philips Lighting and Waterford Crystal to create the new Ball. Lighting Science was hired by Philips to integrate both companies’ technologies – specifically designing, integrating and assembling light engines to manage the Ball’s power and communications signals – to guarantee that this unique structure works on queue at the stroke of midnight.

Lighting Science worked closely with Focus Lighting, the Ball’s lighting designer, and Hudson Scenic, the Ball’s structural framework designer and manufacturer, to ensure that the overall integration went seamlessly.

“The technology platform developed by Lighting Science boasts more than 16 million vivid, vibrant, highly-saturated colors as well as billions of possible effects,” adds Rao. “This New Year’s Eve Ball highlights our unique capabilities in delivering high performance LED based solutions and we are proud to help the world usher in the New Year in a more responsible way.”

For more information and Live Design coverage on the New Year’s Eve Ball please see Fly Ball from the November print issue.