US 3702723 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
H. C. BURDEN, JR SEGMENTED MASTER CHARACTER FOR ELECTRONIC DISPLAY APPARATUS Nov. 14,
. Filed April 23, 1971 INVENTOR.
HOWARD C. BURDEN JR;
. I ATTORNEYS Ill/l I ///////1// 7/ l/ v/ 8 4 8 3 3,702,723 SEGMENIED MASTER CHARACTER FOR ELECTRONIC DISPLAY APPARATUS Howard C. Borden, Jr., Atherton, Calif., assignor to American Micro-Systems, Inc, Santa Clara, Calif. Filed Apr. 23, 1971, Ser. No. 136,829
Int. Cl. G09f 13/00 US. Cl. 350-160 C 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An improved highly readable character comprised of segments which can be energized in various combinations to define each of the arabic numerals in an electronic display apparatus. In one embodiment several characters are formed as thin film conductive members on the front plate of a liquid crystal display apparatus.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to electronic apparatus for displaying digital characters and more particularly to a unique multi-segment master character whose segments can be energized in various combinations to provide highly readable numeral characters.
Visual information readouts or displays have become an essential part of various electronic apparatus including relatively sophisticated computers or measuring devices and digital clocks. With all such readout displaysa major problem was to provide characters with adequate readability characteristics and moreover character forming means having relative structural simplicity and functional reliability. The present invention solves this invention.
BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a unique 8 or 9 segment master display character which will form highly readable and aesthetically pleasing numeric characters when various combinations of the segments are energized. The segments of the master character are shaped so that Patented Nov. 14, 1972 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a view in section of a liquid crystal display device utilizing a plate with stylized master characters according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged plan view of the front platefor the display device of FIG. 1 showing a series of master characters;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing thefront plate with the master characters energized to display a visual readout; and
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary view of a modified form of my master character.
DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT In FIG. 2 is shown a transparent front plate of a typical visual display or readout device having a series of identical, spaced-apart, segmented master characters-12 embodying the principles of the present invention. Each when energized in various combinations they form numerals having excellent definition without gaps between segments that heretofore made recognition difiicult. Gaps at two junctions of various segments are eliminated by means of relatively small triangular segments that may be energized in various combinationswith the other segments.
It is therefore one object of the present invention to provide an improved multi-segment master character [or digital readout or display devices.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a multi-segment master character for readout or display devices that is adaptable for producing display characters that are particularly readable and aesthetically pleasing when utilizing all or some of the segments in various combinations.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a multi-segment master character that is particularly adaptable for use in a digital readout or display device utilizing the liquid crystal principle. In such a device a series of one or more of my master characters are formed by a deposition process on a glass plate. Lead members extend from the various segments to contacts or bonding pads spaced along the edges of the plate. Electrical signals furnished to the pads cause the segments of each master character to be energized in the desired combinations to thereby produce visually readable numerals, such as on a digital clock.
Other objects, advantages and features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of one embodiment thereof, presented in conjunction with the accompanying drawings:
of these characters comprises nine segments formed by areas of a deposition layer of a transparent conductive material on the plate 10, which are separated by narrow areas of no deposition. These include a first aligned pair of segments 14 and 16, and a second similar pair of aligned segments 18 and 20 that are parallel but spaced apart from the first pair. Three spaced apart horizontal segments 22, 24 and 26 extend between the pairs of vertical segments at various levels. At their junction the vertical segments 14 and 16 on one side are each beveled at an angle (e.g. 45) to form a triangular gap within which is situated a slightly smaller triangular segment 28. The vertical segments 18 and 20 are similarly beveled at their adjacent ends to form a similar triangular gap within which is a triangular segment 30. Thus, when all of the nine segments are viewed together the master character 12 has the appearance of a complete numeral 8 in a highly readable form. p
In the embodiment shown, three master characters according to my invention are arranged at spaced apart locations and with one and colon characters on the front plate 10 which may be glass or clear plastic for use as a digital clock display. However, it should be apparent that other types of digital display devices could utilize one or more master characters according to my invention. Each master character with its separate and distinct segments may be formed of any suitable transparent conductive material which can be applied as by a deposition process to the inner surface 32 of the plate 10. Attached to and extending along the surface from each segment is a lead member 34 andthese members terminate at bonding pads 36 spaced along an edge of the display plate. The lead members are rendered invisible by elimination of the electric field in these selective areas.
To the pads 36 may be connected the various leads from clock readout. In this arrangement for a so-called liquid crystal type display unit the front plate 10 is installed adjacent and parallel to another rear plate 40. This rear plate is also made of glass or a clear plastic and has a uniform coating 42 of a transparent conductive material on its outer surface. Preferably, this rear plate is fixed to an opaque mounting fixture 44 such as an epoxy light sink. The two plates 10 and 40 are held apart a small distance by a peripheral sealing member 46 such as a plastic or structural glue which retains a quantity of a transparent organic liquid commonly referred to as liquid crystal" 48. This liquid has a molecular structure that is disoriented when a voltage is applied across it so that light is reflected in any area of disorientation. Thus, in the arat"? "N 3 rangement shown in FIG. 1, light shining through the front glass plate 10 passes through the plate 40 and is absorbed by the rear opaque fixture 4 4. Whenever any segment of a master character 12 is supplied with an electrical signal so as to produce a voltage across the liquid at that location, the segment will be energized to reflect or diffuse light and thus become visible to the human eye.
It will be seen that, for each master character energizing all segments in the aforesaid manner will produce a perfect figure eight. For any numeral from to 9 the triangular segment 28 will always be energized, but the other triangular segment 30 is used only for the numerals 0, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9.
In FIG. 3 the front plate 10 is shown with portions of its four master characters darkened in to illustrate the operation of the display when the time is 12:36. As shown, each numeral when formed is clear, distinct and aesthetically pleasing to the eye due largely to the triangular segments 28 and 30.
A modified version of my master character, designated 12a .is shown on the right end of the group of characters in FIGS. 2 and 3 and in greater detail in FIG. 4. Here, vertical portions 18a and 20a are configured at their adjacent end portions so as to eliminate the need for the triangular portion 30. This simplifies the character because it also eliminates the associated input leads for the triangular portions 28 and and the attached pads on the plate 10, as well as the logic circuitry necessary to activate each triangular portion. As seen, each vertical portion 18a has spaced apart finger-like extensions 50 that are separated by slightly wider gaps 52 and extend downwardly from its sloped lower edge, terminating along a line parallel to the oppositely sloped edge of the lower character portion 20a. The lower character'portion 20a is provided with similar finger-like extensions 54 on its sloped upper edge which are separated by slots 56 and which terminate along a sloped line parallel to the sloped edge of the portion 18a. The finger-like extensions 52 and 54 of the two character portions 18a and 20a interdigitate, so that when both of these portions are energized, a substantially solid vertical bar appears. In a similar manner the same finger-like arrangement may be provided for the vertical portions 14a and 16a. When any of the vertical character portions are energized separately in combination with the middle horizontal bar 24 its finger-like extensions 54 serve to fill the gap between the vertical and horizontal portions in much the same manner as the triangular portion 28 and 30 used in the previous character embodiment 12. The result is an aesthetically pleasing and easily readable character representation.
To those skilled in the art to which this invention relates, many changes in construction and widely differing embodiments and applications of the invention will suggest themselves without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The disclosures and the descrip tion herein are purely illustrative and are not intended to be in any sense limiting.
1. In a visual display device, character electrode comprising:
upper, lower and middle segments of equal length extending horizontally and spaced vertically apart;
a first pair of generally vertical right and left segments extending downwardly from the opposite ends -of said upper segment, eachhaving a lower angular end edge,
a segmented master a second pair of generally vertical right and left segments extending upwardly from the ends of said lower segment each being aligned with a said downwardly extending segment and having an upper angular end edge;
said aligned upper and lower generally vertical segments being vertically spaced apart and forming a triangular gap at each end of said middle segment, the base portion of said triangular gap positioned closest to said middle segment; and
means for forming character portions located within said triangular gaps, said means for forming character portions within said triangular gaps comprising a plurality of finger-like extensions extending downwardly from the lower end of at least one of the vertical segments of said upper pair and forming a part of said vertical segment, and a plurality of similar finger-like extensions extending upwardly from the upper end of at least one of the vertical segments of said lower pair and forming a part of said vertical segment, said finger-like extensions interdigitating to fill substantially the entire area of the triangular gap etween said upper and lower vertical segments.
2. The display device as described in claim 1 wherein said display device comprises a transparent front plate, said segments forming said master characters each com prising a layer of transparent, conductive material on said front plate, lead portions connected to and extending from said segments to an edge of said plate and a rear plate positioned adjacent said segments and opposite said front plate, said rear plate providing a light sink.
3. A display device as set each of said upper pairof vertical segments includes said extensions and each of said lower pair of vertical segments includes said extensions.
4. A display device as set forth in claim 2 wherein each of said upper pair of vertical segments includes said extensions and each of said lower pair of vertical segments includes said extensions.
5. A display device as set forth in claim 1 further including means associated with each of said segments to selectively energize said segrpegts.
6. A display ElevFe'a'sTEt forth iii claim 2 further including means associated with each of said segments to selectively energize said I segments.
A display device as set forth in claim 3 further including means associated with each of said segments to selectively energize said segments.
8. A display device as including means'associated with each of said segments to selectively energize said segments.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Hofstein 350-160 11/1970 Canada 313-1095 RONALD L. WIBERT, Primary Examiner I. ROTHENBERG, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.
forth in claim 1 wherein 7 set forth in claim 4 further