Where do we begin?

A project log for Hacking an Iris 3000 Videophone

This project is centered around repurposing the ACN Iris 3000 videophone, with an aim to unlock its full capabilities.

the-sycoraxThe Sycorax 12/11/2020 at 18:510 Comments

As initially detailed in the overview of this project, I purchased an ACN Iris 3000 device for just $10 from a thrift store back in January 2020. At that time, my interests were largely in reverse engineering consumer electronics. With the assumption that this device was running a Linux based operating system and could be accessed using normal methods, I decided to embark on an project with the ACN Iris 3000. My hypothesis proved to be correct: the device does operate on a Linux system and allows for straightforward access. 

My research led me to a Hackaday article from November 2012. This piece showcased a project called "Phonetendo," executed by a user named "AUTUIN." In the Hackaday article, it detailed how AUTUIN gained full access to the ACN Iris 3000's root shell, revealing its internal Linux operating system. Additionally, AUTUIN managed to load the root filesystem of Debian Linux onto an SD card, then insert it into the ACN Iris 3000. By using the "pivot_root" command, AUTUIN switched from the device's internal root filesystem to the one installed on the SD card. This clever move effectively turned the device into a regular Linux computer, adding a range of features it did not originally possess. Additionally, AUTUIN created a small office game that could be played on the device.

The Hackaday article also directed me to a comprehensive Blogspot post written by AUTUIN. This post provided detailed information about the project, including insights into the ACN Iris 3000's hardware and software capabilities, which AUTUIN used to reverse-engineer the device. While this post was crucial for my project, it was clear that further research was necessary. The post did not offer a detailed, step-by-step guide for loading Debian Linux's root filesystem onto an SD card, nor did it provide the specific commands needed to switch the device's internal root filesystem to a new one.

In order to begin this process, I first needed to gain root shell access to the device. Luckily, AUTUIN included a link in his Blogspot post to a PXBinaFlash forum thread filled with valuable information for achieving this.

[To be continued...]