MIT AI "KNIGHT" TV / Stanford SAIL Keyboard

These are the keyboard that provided Control and Meta in EMACS, as you can see in the four keys at the bottom. At MIT it was called the Knight keyboard after Tom Knight, who did design work on the whole thing.

SAIL (Stanford AI Lab) and the MIT AI Lab both had them, and the displays were 512x512 pixel green-screen displays that were bitmapped frame buffers on a PDP-11, built out of the first Intel 1Kbit semiconductor memory, attached to MIT and SAIL's respective PDP-10s.

This image is a mirror from here:

The 27 key was called ALT, not ESC, and it echoed like a little diamond. The big roundish key in the top left was labeled "ESCAPE" but was a key that went straight to the PDP-11 -- at MIT you could call the elevator to the 8th or 9th floor with ESCAPE E, buzz the 9th-floor door with ESCAPE D, look at a FINGER display of MIT AI with ESCAPE F, or look at someone else's buffer (there were 16, minus one for finger) with ESCAPE n F. The CALL button in the upper right was also for the PDP-11 and you pressed that to attempt to get a frame buffer, or to send an interrupt to the PDP-10. Often during the day we couldn't get one, so we had to work at night. The PDP-10 was faster at night anyway...

The SAIL keyboard's space bar was smaller. This is a mirror of http://www-db.stanford.edu/pub/voy/museum/pictures/display/1-6-RAIL-keybd.jpg from http://www-db.stanford.edu/pub/voy/museum/pictures/display/1-7.htm which is itself a mirror of something that's down.