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[ih] MIT AI Lab elevator hack (was "Internet milestone")
- Subject: [ih] MIT AI Lab elevator hack (was "Internet milestone")
- From: jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu (Noel Chiappa)
- Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2014 13:36:50 -0500 (EST)
> From: Larry Sheldon <LarrySheldon at cox.net>
>> Just like the elevator call hack at MIT... Oh, better not talk about
>> that! :-)
> Sounds like something really ought to be documented for the ages.....
Now that I think about it, it's probably safe to do so: AI-LCS/CSAIL is no
longer in that (rented) building, and I think the building has been sold to a
new company too, etc. (Needless to say, hacking an elevator controller was
Some bright spark(s) at the AI Lab led a couple of wires into the elevator
controller at 545 Tech Sq (I seem to recall hearing they'd glued them to be
back of some beam where it was almost impossible to see them) to allow the
virtual call buttons for the 8th and 9th floors to be pressed. They were run
to the PDP-11 on the MIT-AI KA-10 that ran the Knight TV terminals (which
were, if memory serves, the first bit-mapped displays ever).
Code there (and of course there was some special hardware to interface to the
elevator controller) was such that typing 'Escape E' on a Knight TV keyboard
called the elevator to the appropriate floor (there was a table which told
the TV-11 which floors each terminal was on).
The TV-11 source (which I have squirreled away, it anyone wants to see it -
it's in MACRO-11, but no longer seems to be abailable online anywhere) says
"ELEVATOR CODE 2/13/79".
There was also code (and hardware) to unlock the 9th floor machine room door
from the keyboards ('Escape D'), to let people in without the need to go over
to the door (not sure if that was older, or added at the same time as the