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2 definitions found
 for space-cadet keyboard
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  space-cadet keyboard
   n.
  
      A now-legendary device used on MIT LISP machines, which inspired several
      still-current jargon terms and influenced the design of EMACS. It was
      equipped with no fewer than seven shift keys: four keys for bucky bits
      (?control?, ?meta?, ?hyper?, and ?super?) and three regular shift keys,
      called ?shift?, ?top?, and ?front?. Many keys had three symbols on them: a
      letter and a symbol on the top, and a Greek letter on the front. For
      example, the ?L? key had an ?L? and a two-way arrow on the top, and the
      Greek letter lambda on the front. By pressing this key with the right hand
      while playing an appropriate ?chord? with the left hand on the shift keys,
      you could get the following results:
  
      +---------------------------------------------+
      |L            |lowercase l                    |
      |-------------+-------------------------------|
      |shift-L      |uppercase L                    |
      |-------------+-------------------------------|
      |front-L      |?                              |
      |-------------+-------------------------------|
      |front-shift-L|?                              |
      |-------------+-------------------------------|
      |top-L        |? (front and shift are ignored)|
      +---------------------------------------------+
  
      And of course each of these might also be typed with any combination of the
      control, meta, hyper, and super keys. On this keyboard, you could type over
      8000 different characters! This allowed the user to type very complicated
      mathematical text, and also to have thousands of single-character commands
      at his disposal. The keyboard of the Symbolics Lisp machine was a
      simplified version, lacking Top and Front keys, that could only send about
      2000 characters.
  
      Many hackers were actually willing to memorize the command meanings of that
      many characters if it reduced typing time (this attitude obviously shaped
      the interface of EMACS). Other hackers, however, thought having that many
      bucky bits was overkill, and objected that such a keyboard can require
      three or four hands to operate. See bucky bits, cokebottle, double
      bucky, meta bit, quadruple bucky.
  
      [symbolics-]
  
      Simplified Symbolics version of the space-cadet keyboard
  
      (Some relatively bad photographs of the earlier, more elaborate version are
      available on the Web.).
  
      Note: early versions of this entry incorrectly identified the space-cadet
      keyboard with the Knight keyboard. Though both were designed by Tom Knight,
      the latter term was properly applied only to a keyboard used for ITS on the
      PDP-10 and modeled on the Stanford keyboard (as described under bucky bits
      ). The true space-cadet keyboard evolved from the first Knight keyboard.
  
      [73-05-19]
  
      An early space-cadet keyboard
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018) :

  space-cadet keyboard
  
     A now-legendary device used on MIT Lisp machines, which
     inspired several still-current jargon terms and influenced the
     design of Emacs.  It was equipped with no fewer than *seven*
     shift keys: four keys for bucky bits ("control", "meta",
     "hyper", and "super") and three like regular shift keys,
     called "shift", "top", and "front".  Many keys had three
     symbols on them: a letter and a symbol on the top, and a Greek
     letter on the front.  For example, the "L" key had an "L" and
     a two-way arrow on the top, and the Greek letter lambda on the
     front.  By pressing this key with the right hand while playing
     an appropriate "chord" with the left hand on the shift keys,
     you could get the following results:
  
      L		lowercase l
  
      shift-L	uppercase L
  
      front-L	lowercase lambda
  
      front-shift-L	uppercase lambda
  
      top-L		two-way arrow
  
     (front and shift are ignored) And of course each of these
     might also be typed with any combination of the control, meta,
     hyper, and super keys.  On this keyboard, you could type over
     8000 different characters!  This allowed the user to type very
     complicated mathematical text, and also to have thousands of
     single-character commands at his disposal.  Many hackers were
     actually willing to memorise the command meanings of that many
     characters if it reduced typing time (this attitude obviously
     shaped the interface of Emacs).  Other hackers, however,
     thought that many bucky bits was overkill, and objected that
     such a keyboard can require three or four hands to operate.
  
     See cokebottle, double bucky, meta bit, quadruple
     bucky.
  
     Note: early versions of this entry incorrectly identified the
     space-cadet keyboard with the "Knight keyboard".  Though both
     were designed by Tom Knight, the latter term was properly
     applied only to a keyboard used for ITS on the PDP-10 and
     modelled on the Stanford keyboard (as described under bucky
     bits).  The true space-cadet keyboard evolved from the Knight
     keyboard.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (1994-12-05)
  

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