US 3827043 A
An arrangement of segments, both curved and straight, makes it possible to present in a digital display any digit from 0 to 9. The reduction from the usual 7-segment display to a 6-segment display reduces the number of leads and the circuitry required for a digital display device. The arrangement is particularly suitable for use with liquid crystal display devices, and light-emitting diode devices.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Maezawa [111 3,827,043 1 July 30, 1974 DISPLAY DEVICE FOR NUMERIC CHARACTERS  Inventor: Shuji Maezawa, Suwa, Japan  Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Suwa Seikosha,
Tokyo, Japan 22] Filed: Dec. 6, I972 ] Appl. No.: 312,462
 Foreign Application Priority Data Dec, 8, l97l Japan 46-98632 Dec. 8, l97l Japan 46-98633  US. Cl. 340/336, 58/50 R, D64/l2 B  Int. Cl. G08b 5/36 Field of Search 340/336; D64/l2 B  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2.583.184 l/l952 McCarty et al 340/336 Hofstein 340/336 X Nakamura 340/336 X Primary Examiner-David L. Trafton Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Blum Moscovitz Friedman & Kaplan I 57 ABSTRACT An arrangement of segments, both curved and straight, makes it possible to present in a digital display any digit from 0 t0 9. The reduction from the usual 7-segment display to a 6-segment display reduces the number of leads and the circuitry required for a digital display device. The arrangement is particularly suitable for use with liquid crystal display devices, and light-emitting diode devices.
5 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTED 3.827. 043
' sum 3 nr 4 1 DISPLAY DEVICE FOR NUMERIC CHARACTERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the conventional digital display device, 7 segments are used for the display of digits which may range from to 9. The segments, conventionally, are straight and the represented digits have straight edges which meet at sharp angles. Moreover, the digit l is represented by activating either the two left-hand segments or the two right-hand segments of a group of seven with the result that the numeral is either at the left-hand edge or the right-hand edge of the space allocated for representation of the digit. I
Figures, as written, may be straight, as with the numerals l, 4 and 7. However, the numerals 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 0 usually have curved portions. Also, in writing numbers consisting of three or more digits, where the central digit is a I the central digit is not equally spaced between the adjacent digits.
The result of using the conventional straight-sided 7-segmented display set is that the numerals displayed are angular, relatively difficult to read and awkward with respect to the positioning of the numeral l The present invention is designed to reduce the number of segments needed per digit to be displayed, to present more readable digits, and to make it possible to place the number l essentially centrally in the space allocated thereto.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In a digital display device, a set of six appropriately curved segments makes it possible to display any digit from 0 to 9. The shape and positioning of the segments is such that the number 1 when displayed, is essentially centrally located in the space allocated to the specific digit. The display is particularly suitable for use with nematic liquid crystal display systems and lightemitting diode systems, especially where such systems are used for displaying time as presented in a wrist watch.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved segmental arrangement for display of any numeric character from 0 to 9.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved segmental arrangement in connection with a numeric character display device utilizing nematic liquid crystals.
An important object of the present invention is to provide an improved segmental arrangement for displaying any numeric character from 0 to 9 in connection with a display device utilizing light-emitting diodes.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide an improved segmental arrangement wherein the numer of segments required for representing any digit from 0 to 9 is reduced from 7 to 6.
A significant object of the present invention is to provide an improved segmental arrangement for exhibiting time in the form of a digital display on a wrist watch.
Still other objects and advantages of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part be apparent from the specification.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be'exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a fuller understanding of the invention, reference is had to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1A is a conventional set of seven segments used for representing any digit from 0 to 9, the electrical leads used for activating each segment also being shown;
FIG. 1B shows the straight-sided angular digits produced by the array of FIG. ,IA;
FIG. 2 is a set of six segments and six leads in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 3 shows the digits from O to 9 as represented by appropriate combinations of the segments of FIG. 2 and as they appear when viewed from other than a short distance;
FIG. 4 is a watch in accordance with the present invention using a liquid crystal display; and
FIG. 5 is a watch in accordance with the present invention using a light-emitting diode display.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS As aforenoted, the conventional numeric display as shown in FIG. IA is made up of seven segments each connected by means of an electrical lead to a logic system (not shown). The angular straight-sided numeric characters formed from these seven segments are shown in FIG. 1B. In this representation, the number 1" is shown as being at the right-hand edge of the space allocated to display of the digit. The digits 2, 3, 7 and 8 can be shown only as sharp, rectangular forms because no diagonal lines are provided for. Further, the digit 5 can readily be confused with the digit 6, and the same is true for the pairs 8 and 9" and 8 and O. This is especially apt to happen when the digits are either small as would be the case on the display-panel of a watch or when the digits are viewed from a distance. Also, as aforenoted, when a number of several digits is to be displayed, the character l can be shown only at the left or at the right of the space allocated so that the spacing of the digits is irregular whenever the numeric character I must be displayed.
In the segmental arrangement of FIG. 3, the number of segments required is reduced to six; accordingly, the number of leads connecting the segments to the electronic circuitry is decreased and the electronic circuitry itself is decreased in complexity. This becomes particularly important when a substantial number of digits are to be displayed simultaneously.
The segments of numeric characters in accordance with the present invention may be described as an upper segment 11, an upper-left segment 12, an upperright segment 13, a lower-left segment 14 and a lowerright segment 16 which when activated together constitute the numeric character 8. It should be noted that the segment 14 has a lower arm 24 and the segment 16 has a lower arm 26 which together make up the lower loop of a figure 8.
Similarly, arms 11 and 12 are curved and arm 13 is beveled at the upper edge so that arms ll, 12 and 13 together make up the upper loop of the digit 8.
TABLE 1 DIGlT ACTIVATED SEGMENTS 14,16 l 13,15 2 ll, l3, l4 3 ll, l3, l6 4 l2, l3, l5 5 11,12,16 6 13,14, 16 7 11,13,15 8 ll,l2,l3,l4,l6 9 ll, l2, l3,
The appearance of the various numeric characters formed in accordance with the present invention is shown in F IG. 3. Despite the fact that only six segments are used instead of the conventional seven, the characters resemble those produced by writing or printing substantially more closely than do the characters produced in the conventional way by the use of seven segments. Moreover, as aforenoted, the character 1 is positioned near the center of its space so that the appearance of a series of digits does not appear to have a gap in the middle thereof. 7
FIG. 4 shows a wach 31 in which the time is displayed by means of 6-segment characters using a liquid crystal display. In F lG. 5 watch 33 utilizes light-emiting diodes to display the time by means of similar 6-segment characters.
As is evident from FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 the arrangement of six activatable segments in accordance with the present invention results in a numerical display which more closely resembles numeric characters usually produced by writing or printing. Not only is the circuitry simplified but the characters are more easily read and a series of digits including the character l is free of unsightly gaps.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
What is claimed is:
1. A display device for showing any numeric character from 0 to 9, comprising at least one set of six seg ments, each set consisting of an upper segment 11, and upper-left segment 12, an upper-right segment 13, a lower-left segment 14, a lower-central segment 15 and a lower-right segment 16, each segment being individually and selectively activatable by connection to an external voltage source, said segments ll, 12, 13, 14 and 16 when activated simultaneously forming the upper and lower loops of a figure 8 in which only segment 13 is straight over its entire length, said segment 11 having a straight portion forming the top of said figure 8 and having a downwardly-curving, tapered left end, said segment 12 being curved and forming the left and bottom portions of the upper loop of said figure 8, said segment 12 having a tapered upper end proximate said tapered end of said segment 11, said straight segment 13 joining the center of said figure 8 and the right hand end of said segment 11, thereby completing said upper loop of said figure 8, said segment 14 curving to form the lower-left and bottom portions of said figure 8, both ends of said segment 14 being tapered and the righthand end of said segment curving slightly upward, said segment 16 being in the form and position of a reversed C, the bottom end of said segment 16 being tapered and lying proximate to and above said tapered righthand end of said segment 14, said segments 14 and 16 forming the bottom loop of said figure 8, and straight segment 15 running from the center to the bottom of said figure 8 within said bottom loop, said segments 13 and 15 being essentially aligned with each other so that when both are activated the figure l is displayed, segments l2, l3, l5 and 16 being pointed at those ends proximate the center of said figure 8 so that said pointed ends fit together without overlap, said tapered upper end of said segment 14 lying proximate the upper end of said straight segment 15, said segments 13 and 15 being in positions rotated slightly clockwise from the vertical.
2. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said set of segments is part of a nematic liquid crystal display device.
3. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein each of said segments comprises a light-emitting diode.
4. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the digit 1, when displayed, is approximately centered laterally in the space occupied by said set of segments.
5. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said display device is a portion of a watch and displays the time when activated.