Seven-segment displays are ubiquitous. From where I’m writing this, I can see several without even having to swivel my chair. We’re all familiar with their classic visage; slightly italicized numbers that are brought to life by LEDs. There are a boatload of variants available– you can get displays with a decimal point, ones with multiple numbers, and even versions in just about any color you desire, but at the core they’re all basically the same thing- an array of LEDs sitting behind a faceplate. Except for those ones that have some gears inside.
You read that right– a seven-segment display that contains gears, along with a handful of cams for good measure. Artist [Kango Suzuki] created this stunning all-mechanical seven-segment display that sequentially counts up from zero to nine when a thumbwheel is spun. All of the components are cut from wood and mesh together beautifully, complete with a satisfying click when the display rolls into a new digit, which you can hear in the video at the above link. You may recognize [Kango]’s style from this incredible mechanical clock he made a few years back. Unlike his earlier work, the seven-segment display is tiny, relatively speaking. Maybe we’ll see it integrated into a larger project some day, like a mechanical-digital clock.
We just love when somebody uses intricate mechanisms to artfully emulate some piece of existing tech. This isn’t even the first time we’ve seen a mechanical seven-segment display; [Peter Lehnér] built one back in 2019, and judging by [Kango]’s twitter feed, it appears to have inspired his design. There have even been a few other 3D printed ones over the years, but as far as we know this is the first wooden one– and, in true [Kango] fashion, its beautiful.
Thanks to [J. Peterson] for the tip!
— K.$uzuki 𖠃 (@BellTreeNursing) October 21, 2021