This (semi-) automatic minirhizotron camera system VSI AS-17 is designed to be operated in horizontally or flat-angled installed MR tubes as commonly found in rhizolabs and other experimental installations holding large amounts of minirhizotron tubes. The dual view system (i.e. 2 cameras on opposite sides of the imaging unit) is wirelessly programmed with the MR tube number via a table computer and placed on a gear rack slightly protruding from the MR tubes. After initialization, the camera module is independently and precisely taking photos at pre-set positions (via handheld computer) before returning to the home position. This allows an operator to run several camera modules efficiently in parallel - being only tasked with changing camera modules between tubes and setting the MR tube numbers via scanning RFID tags with the handheld. Images are saved in ultra-high resolution (2500 dpi) and with the ICAP naming scheme on one of two USB sticks (16 GB) per camera module and can thus be transferred anytime to a laptop etc. The battery of the camera module is charge and replaceable for virtually unlimited time of operation. The software allows to pre-set imaging positions in bulk or individually per tube, taking e.g. differently protruding MR tubes into account. The circular gear rack position can be manually changed with magnetic end caps (indexing heads) at the end of tubes (to image the complete inside of the MR tube). Gear racks can either remain in tubes (most convenient) or can be interchanged between tubes (to save set-up costs).
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