The miracle of your screen

How the three colors of light in your screen can be made visible and how we are able see a large part of our world through this little wonder.

The miracle of your screen
Rise of a rainbow, the symbol of colour. 

I have to be honest, and I watch a digital screen all the time. I look at it more than I look outside through a window. Watch, phone, tablet, laptop or computer. And I never fully realized how these screens work. How they are able to present information or are able to show the beauty of a wide array of things.

Of course, I had some cognition, I work in digital environments for more than two decades, but the full realization came by watching and understanding a simple experience:

a drop of water on a led screen will act as a magnifier and a prism

And then you suddenly see the three colours, where all this digital marvel is based on. A red, a green and a blue light.

LED, three colours of light seen through a magnifying drop of water

Three colours and LED

The things emitting these lights are the LED’s, light emitting diodes. And there are three physical separate entities that produce its individual colour of light. A red LED, a green LED and a blue LED. All in a very tiny space, a space that gets more miniature with the year. The three colours now can work together, they act as palette and can generate a gamut of colours.

Red, Green and Blue (RGB) Colour Wheel

One such a light mixing unit is called a pixel, and a screen consists of a raster of them with certain height and width. Mixing these three colours of light (RGB Color Model) is the basis for most modern screens.

There is more about screens and resolutions in my article Resolutions for screens and images.

Colours are joy

And a moral and emotional story that made me appreciate being able to see colour even more: