Seven-segment-display meaning

A common display found on digital watches and readouts that looks like a series of 8s. Each digit is formed by selective illumination of from one to seven separately addressable segments. For more details, see LCD types. For more on color LCDs, see LCD subpixels.A Single SegmentThe above illustration highlights one segment of the liquid crystal layer in a monochrome twisted nematic (TN) seven-segment display (Image courtesy of LXD, Inc.) In their natural state, liquid crystals line up with the orientation "rubbed" into the front and rear glass panels. The rubbings are microscopic grooves.In this "positive image" example, the background is lit, while the dark segments that make up the desired letters and digits are unlit. Notice that the front and rear planes are oriented 90 degrees from each other. The top left segment is the result of ambient light traveling from the viewer down the crystals and reflected back up the same twisted ladder. Light follows the liquid crystal path.The top right segment gets no light, because the crystals reorient perpendicular to the rear polarizer, which absorbs the light.Reflective vs. BacklitIn low-cost calculators and readouts, a reflector bounces ambient light back to the viewer. However, reflective displays are hard to read in dim light. A backlight provides a source of light at all times (see transmissive LCD). Passive displays may be reflective or backlit, but active matrix TV and computer screens are always backlit (see LCD types and LED TV). See flat panel display, LCoS and indium.
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