7-SDS : A Device for Constrained Writing

Workshop for Writhing Society

Proteus Gowanus
Brooklyn, NY

October 2013 
Corina Bardoff
Tom La Farge
Wendy Walker
Materials & Software
Logic Chips
Interface Hardware
Laser Cut Plexi


The 7-SDS (Seven-Segment Display Synthesizer) is a rudimentary computer for displaying text. It is capable of programming six LED displays through the use of an array of switches. Due to the limited resolution of the displays, all but a handful of Roman characters can be represented. W, X, K, M, and Q are the exceptions.

This limitation was the inspiration for generating a lipogram, a constrained writing technique in which selected letters of the alphabet cannot be used to compose a text. In addition to this, all words must be entered on the 7-SDS in six-letter blocks. Blocks may contain more than a word, but a word may never be split across more than one block.

The 7-SDS was presented at Proteus Gowanus to the Writhing Society, a collection of writers who practice the methods invented and codified by the Oulipo. The text below was composed by Corina Bardoff.

Brendan is a Brooklyn-based designer