Back around 1973 - A proposal that challenges the traditional 7-segment display in common use today. This alternative uses less segments. Cheaper, no? It’s not too late to change.
I was trying to improve upon the 7-segment display which was fairly new at that time – found in such novel devices as digital wristwatches and electronic test instruments.
I reasoned that 7 segments were too many because 2^7 yields 128 permutations. We only require 10 to represent the digits. Since log(2)10 is about 3.3 it follows that at minimum we require 4 segments.
Everyone could save a lot of money with fewer segments – I had to hurry before the current design got entrenched…
Early rough sketches.
It was found that at least 5 segments are required for legible digits.
This would still be nearly a 30% improvement.
My thought was to eventually build a giant clock using this design. The segments’ shape would be cut from black plexiglass. The holes would then be backed with red translucent plexiglass – rear illuminated with conventional incandescent bulbs. The front would be covered with a third sheet of smoked plexiglass to conceal the cut-out shapes until lit.
Here are some final designs. Also shown is a truth table for the digits (segments) and some experimental circuits for the segment drivers.
Revised 30 Mar 2015