Affordable Plug-and-Play LiDAR Camera: Onion Tau

Affordable Plug-and-Play LiDAR Camera: Onion Tau

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Onion Corporation, the company best known for its computing and IoT connectivity devices is currently crowdfunding their LiDAR depth camera system named the Onion Tau. Onion Tau Camera is a 3D depth-sensing camera. It is capable of producing 3D depth data rather than color frames.

The company claims it to be a USB-based and plug-and-play 3D camera. It requires no additional computation to provide depth data. Plugging it into a computer with a USB cable is more than enough for it to start sending depth data to the computer via USB-C. The Tau holds the promise to become an affordable solution for the level beyond single-point depth sensing or one-dimensional scanning.

Onion Tau LiDAR Camera Prototype

The LiDAR-style time-of-flight sensor in the camera outputs real-time 160 x 60 resolution depth data. It can also output a greyscale image of the scene. Most importantly, the range for depth sensing is 0.1 m to 7 m at a frame rate of 30fps. For real-time processing, Onion has promised a web-based application for viewing the point cloud along with a Python library and OpenCV-compatible application programming interface — both of which will be open source.

Specifications

  • Depth Technology: LiDAR Time of Flight
  • Depth Stream Output Resolution: 160 x 60
  • Depth Stream Output Frame Rate: 30 fps
  • Minimum Depth Distance: 0.1 meters
  • Maximum Range: 7 meters
  • Depth Field of View (FOV): 70° x 20°
  • Connector: USB-C
  • Tau Camera: 4 mounting holes

Use Cases

  • Primary use case:
  • Use the bundled viewer to see the depth data rendered on your computer
    • Explore 3D depth mapping and it’s possibilities
  • Secondary use case:
  • Use the Python API to build custom made applications
    • Compatible with OpenCV
  • Use cases this enables:
      • Environment mapping (like SLAM)
      • Augmented Reality
  • Computer vision applications:
        • Person counting/presence detection
        • Object detection
        • Robotics
    • Automation

The way LiDAR cameras are getting mainstreamed, it is a very high probability that they will soon take over the “smart” devices universe. Currently, on CrowdSupply, Onion’s Tau Camera is looking forward to achieving that goal.

Myself Rik and I am founder of Riktronics. I study Electronics and Communication Engineering in IIE. My hobby is playing with electronics and making various projects, mainly about embedded systems. Love to do coding, and making tutorials about electronics/programming. Contact me in any need at abhra0897@gmail.com My blog : riktronics.wordpress.com

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