Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is auctioning off for charity 90 of the halogen light bulbs used to illuminate the Waterford crystal ball above Times Square on New Year's Eve. To usher in 2007, the ball is being outfitted with LEDs as part of a move from traditional to solid-state lighting. Bids can be made until Friday, Jan. 6, at www.philips.com/newyears; proceeds will benefit the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. In 2005, Philips and its North American employees donated more than $1 million to the fund. . . . A US Department of Defense bill has appropriated $1 million to the US Army Night Vision Electronic Sensor Directorate for the use of digital watermarking in providing more effective battlefield, port and border intelligence. The project will be shared by four companies: Digimarc of Beaverton, Ore., and three Montana-based companies, GCS Research, S&K Electronics Inc. and AquilaVision Inc. Those involved in the project say that, by directly embedding key sensor and event data in streams with digital watermarking, analysts will be able to more rapidly synthesize and analyze data from multiple sources, giving military forces an information advantage and speeding the deployment of troops. . . . GridPoint Inc. of Washington, DC, has been elected to the board of directors of the Maryland-DC-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association, the regional trade organization of the photovoltaics and solar thermal industry. GridPoint makes products that integrate renewable energy, provide power outage and reduce home energy costs.