Can I use the ZED Box without an HDMI display?

When using the ZED Box with a ZED camera and the ZED SDK, the GPU processing is required even if the graphic environment is not started because the ZED SDK requires Nvidia CUDA to run.

When you connect to the ZED Box remotely by using SSH, if the graphic interface has not been previously started the GPU is not made available by the operating system and the ZED SDK operations fail.


The solution to this problem is to force the operating system to start the graphics manager and make the GPU and CUDA available. There are two possible ways to achieve this.

Hardware solution

The hardware solution is simple and minimally invasive. It involves inserting an emulator into the HDMI port that simulates the connection of a display, thus forcing the graphics engine to start.

You can find a "headless display emulator" device in all the most common online stores; we suggest getting an emulator that supports 4K resolution.

blobid0.jpg 4K HDMI Dummy Plug - Virtual Monitor Display Emulator, Headless Display  Adapter Supports up to 3840x2160@60Hz, 1080@120Hz DVI EDID Emulator  (Single) : Electronics


Software solution

The software solution consists in forcing the starting of the X-server by modifying the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

Open a command-line terminal console and start editing the file with your favorite text editor, for example:

$ sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf # if you have a graphic interface
$ sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf # if you do not have a graphic interface
$ sudo vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf # if you like old-style text editing

Search for the Section "Device" line and before the next EndSection line add the following:

Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration" "true"

Save and reboot to apply the modification.

Info: Read here for more information about the 'AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration' option.