Hacker Plays Videos on Model S Display, Probably Wishes She Had a Model 3

Model S playing video 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
What's the point of having a 17-inch display like the one in the Model S if you can't watch movies on it, right? I mean are the people at Tesla not aware that GOT season six is almost upon us?
Luckily, the Tesla community has some of the brightest minds when it comes to electronics (it figures), and since these EVs are more about circuit boards and capacitors than car bits, they feel more at home with the figurative hood popped open than your regular mechanic.

Hacking Teslas isn't something new - it seems like people have been doing it ever since the Model S came out in 2012. And with the cars having so many features built-in and only blocked using software restrictions, it's only natural that owners with a bit of know-how tried to see what was behind door number one.

The latest in a series of hacks suffered by the world's favorite electric sedan comes from an anonymous tech-whizz that calls himself "Hemera." A quick Google search for the name will point to the fact that we could be dealing with a female character here, so we will refer to our hacker as being a "she." And there's the small detail of her calling herself a "girl" in one of the blog comments as well...

Hemera started a blog to document her findings as she proceeded to make her way into Tesla's touchscreen system. After a step-by-step explanation of how to gain root access (which involves a bit of stripping the dashboard and plugging in some cables), she has now posted the end result of her hard work that took over two months in total (research included).

You'll be pleased (and equally frustrated) to know that the Tesla Model S would make for an excellent media center, Hemera says, pointing out that "it sounds amazing!" She managed to install Gentoo (an operating system based on Linux), which basically enabled her to transform the car into a personal computer. Or, rather, give it the kind of user interface that would allow the owner to use it as such.

For the moment, she hasn't installed that many applications since there are still some issues with the Nvidia codecs for the Tegra chip, but she seems confident she'll get over them quickly enough. She did manage to make the system run videos, which should make it even more interesting once the Model 3 - with its landscape-oriented display - comes along.

I can't help but feel this article is a little too non-technical given the nature of the subject, so I'm just going to leave this paragraph here, taken from Hemera's blog: "Some details, this is running a Gentoo arm system, cross-compiled using a qemu-user chroot environment. Yes, that's right, Gentoo, running on a Tesla. All those USE flags, CFLAGS, and optimizations are going to add speed to my car. My 5 second 0-60 will be faster than your 5 second 0-60!" There, that should give it some weight.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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