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Getting Started with the Onion Tau LiDAR Camera

This guide will help you set up your Tau LiDAR Camera for the first time. We’ll cover:

  • Unboxing your Tau Camera
  • Installing the required software
  • Connecting the Tau Camera to your computer
  • Using the Tau Studio web application

First Time Setup

Steps you'll only need to do once!

Unbox and Prep the Tau Camera

📦 Unpack the Tau Camera

📷 Make sure to remove the protective sticker from the lens

Installing Software

To use the Tau Studio Web App, you'll need to have Python and TauLidarServer installed.

🐍 Install python

Download and install Python at Make sure you install version 3.6.1 or higher.

If you have questions about using Python, check out the official instructions.

📩 Install the TauLidarServer Python module

Open a command-line window, and run the following command: python -m pip install TauLidarServer

🥳 You're ready to use your Tau Camera!

Using the Tau Camera

📸 Connecting the Tau Camera to your Computer

Use a USB cable to connect the Tau Camera to your computer. It has a USB Type-C port, so you'll need a compatible cable.

⚙️ Starting the Tau Studio Software

To start the Tau Studio Web App, run this in a command line window:

python -m TauLidarServer

If a Tau Camera is connected, you will see output like this:

ToF camera opened successfully:
    model:      4.0
    firmware:   3.3
    uid:        69.549
    resolution: 160x60
    port:       /dev/cu.usbmodem00000000001A1
    IP address:

Press Ctrl + C keys to shutdown ...

🖥 Using the Tau Studio web app

Use a web browser to navigate to the URL listed in the command line output from the last step! And you've arrived to the Tau Studio Web App

Onion Tau Studio Web App

Hit the question mark button in the sidebar for more info on how to work with the Tau Studio

🍻 Have fun!


A few troubleshooting tips in case you encounter any issues!

Bad frame ignored error -> Need a better cable

The Problem:

If you launch the Tau Studio and get an error in the command line that looks something like this:

Data error, actual size: 33788, expected size: 38480
Bad frame ignored, bytes length: 33708
skip frame
Bad frame ignored, bytes length: 0
skip frame
Bad frame ignored, bytes length: 0
skip frame

The Solution:

A few things to try:

  1. Use ctrl+c to kill the program and try running it again
  2. Unplug the Tau Camera from the computer for 10 seconds, reconnect, and try running the program again
  3. Try switching to a high-quality cable! If possible, try using a not-super-long USB-C to USB-C cable from a reputable brand. Then try running the program again.

Try to avoid:

  • Long cables
  • USB hubs
  • USB adapters

Try to use:

  • Shorter cables
  • Direct USB-C to USB-C if possible
  • Cables from reputable brands