Kodak ZX3 teardown and Tetris

[Sprite_TM] was given a Kodak ZX3 to play with by a forum he moderates.  The Kodak ZX3 is a waterproof HD camcorder in a cell phone / mp3 player form factor. After opening up the camcorder, he did some poking around with a scope and was able to locate a serial port on the board. It quickly became apparent that the system uses a proprietary kernel called PrKernelV4 rather than an open source alternative. Not letting the proprietary kernel get him down, he exploited the system by simply modifying a file called “autoexec.ash” on the sd card. He now has a Tetris clone easily launched from a previously unused menu icon. See it in action after the break.


  1. CRJEEA says:

    Well done (: nice work. Interesting to see what else could be ported to this device. Under water wifi enabled security camera or something for the robotics enthusiast?
    If I come across one going cheap I shall see what I can cook up (:

  2. Paul says:

    Gosh, very innovative,

    maybe I’ll turn my EUR550 DSO into a tetris clone to.

    Any ideas to turn this thingie into a real wannahave?

    It’s a small step for mankind, but a giant leap for a single hacker. :-)

  3. me says:

    Thats the spirit of hacking!

  4. Tom says:

    If he can run custom code does that mean he could replace the kernel with an open source one?

  5. Arutan says:

    Very good hack !
    That’s what I call a true hack !!
    From nothing, with nothing, both hard and soft hacking !!
    Congratulation !

  6. eventhorizon says:

    whoa, you could play with the live view on? hmmm I smell augmented reality games here..>:D

  7. Drone says:

    Now that’s a hack! Well done…

  8. Gregg says:

    “””Well done (: nice work. Interesting to see what else could be ported to this device. Under water wifi enabled security camera or something for the robotics enthusiast?
    If I come across one going cheap I shall see what I can cook up (:”””
    @CRJEEA – I think I see a potential use for those eye-fi cards

  9. Ben says:

    Sorry to disappoint, but radio is next to useless underwater. Putting eye-fi cards in underwater cameras is a nice idea, but it doesn’t work.


  10. Sp00nix says:

    I got one of these cameras on black Friday for $100. Nice little gadget.

  11. Whatnot says:

    I’m a bit disappointed too by this initial tetris thing, it’s impressive he managed to hack it but you’d want to see something more useful and interesting, some modification of its abilities that enhances usability, like the firmware hacks on canon cameras.
    But all things take time I guess.

    I wish I could hack my budget cam, it’s EU-limited and is missing functionality the same hardware has in the US, and google won’t find me a hack or way in.

  12. Gdogg says:

    @Whatnot: It was just a proof of concept, now he could do whatever he wants with it.

    Also, this should be tagged with ARM as well.

  13. nicotrial says:

    Hi i have a kodak zx1 and its great for price and quality except for no antishake and been looking for hacks and firmware (with hex editor which i have no idea what to look for) and its hardware.. and found some info
    first is that the lens is called MT9M002 and is capable of 1080p recording at 30fps.. (whitch you are only able to record in only up to 720p 60fps) then you have no antishake which the new ones have(and looks to be capable of doing) becouse they seem to be the same hardware as the zx1. is there a posibility for custom firmware on this to enable these features and a more manual control over exposure light, record in mp4 like the new ones.. since its a very cheap cam and looks to have WAAY MORE POTENCIAL then it was givin.. looks more like a marketing strategy to sell more camaras

  14. nicotrial says:

    btw here is some more info on the zx1
    Ambarella A2 A1 RH h.264 encoder capable of encoding to 1080p videos.. there is also the pins for debuging like on the other cams.. man i wish i had more eperience in hacking to do this on my own!!

  15. propmaker says:

    I’d love to see someone hack A/V inputs, to bypass the sensor and record from a different camera. Basically, a pocket DVR. I’ve got a bunch of I/R LEDs and little ultra low lux spy cam, but nothing to plug it into and record.

  16. mutantbabboo says:
  17. Myronuk says:

    I have Zx3 that took a tumble onto our tile floor. The screen is fragged but not the optics. Doors, hinges, buttons appear pristine. I will donate it to anyone who wants it for hacking on. The responsible person has bought a replacement for us, so I have a vested interest in seeing the platform’s potential fully exposed.

  18. Slr Best says:

    Kodak ZX3 is a really cool camera. I own one…. And thank you for the tip.



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