Tonight’s New Year’s Eve Ball

by Travis Harvey | December 31, 2009

Each year, tens of millions from around the world tune in to New York City’s Times Square celebration. As the final minute winds down, all attention shifts to one massively beautiful piece of tech that truly ushers in a new year. A tradition that started over 100 years ago with a ball comprised of one hundred 25-watt light bulbs has since evolved into a piece much larger and much more complex.


The newest version of the Times Square Ball was unveiled late 2009 that’s massive 12 feet in diameter weighing in at 11,875 pounds. The ball is covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystal triangles powered by 672 LED modules. These modules attach to over 30,000 Philips LEDs capable of outputting 16 million colors. Although this newest ball has more than three times the number of LEDs than 2008’s, it’s 10-20% more energy efficient. In comparison the ball consumes as much energy as it takes to operate two home ovens. Focus Lighting is responsible for the designs displayed on the ball, requiring more than 3,500 lighting cues from orchestrated moving patterns.

As this is only the seventh revision of the New Year’s Eve Ball, it’s already shaped up to be the most visually stunning we’ve ever seen. This version will be the first to be showcased all year long, fitting in amongst the world famous Times Square lighting. Expect the ball to receive plenty of attention throughout the day and especially come midnight tonight.

Waterford has also created an iPhone app to help ring in the New Year. ‘Clink-Clink’ allows iPhone users to exchange messages when they toast (not literally, people) with one another. Similar to the one billionth downloaded app ‘Bump’, the application detects the nearby iPhone by GPS location and swaps the messages between the two. I wonder it’ll work on the crowded streets of Times Square…

Have a safe, and fun New Year!