loading page

HyperRail: Modular, 3D Printed, 1-100 meter, Programmable, and Low-cost Linear Motion System for Imaging and Sensor Suites
  • Jose Manuel Lopez Alcala,
  • John Selker,
  • Chester Udell
Jose Manuel Lopez Alcala
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Oregon State University

Corresponding Author:jmanuel.alcala96@gmail.com

Author Profile
John Selker
Biological and Ecological Engineering Oregon State University
Author Profile
Chester Udell
Biological and Ecological Engineering Oregon State University
Author Profile


Reliable, accurate, and affordable linear motion systems for agricultural applications are currently not easily accessible due to their elevated cost. Most systems available to the public have price tags in the thousands and their dimensions cannot be easily customized. Current systems have a max length of about ten meters and for a typical greenhouse application, the length may not be sufficient. The price of the system increases with an increase in length and with a base price in the thousands it becomes almost impractical to buy a system for such application. The HyperRail is a modular linear motion system with a repeatability of 2mm and current top speed of 100mm/s. An advantage this system has is its ability to increase or decrease the length of system with minimum effort and nominal increase in price. The HyperRail can be mounted on a set of tripods or directly on the structure of a building such as a greenhouse. The base price for a three-meter system, on tripods, is US$240 and an additional US$45 for each additional one-and-a-half meter. The HyperRail was designed for the use of hyperspectral imaging but can be adapted for other sensor systems. We report on a nine-meter study over pine seedlings infected with a virus. A push-broom hyperspectral camera (Headwall Nano) was mounted on the carriage of the system imaging the seedlings. The rail is currently being adapted to an environmental sensor suite that will monitor CO2, luminosity, humidity, temperature, and the concentration of dust. The HyperRail also includes bidirectional-wireless communication between the drive and the carriage; this means that the sensor suite can operate autonomously and communicate to the HyperRail drive to move to a specific location and take measurements. This system includes a graphical user interface for users who are unfamiliar with programming but could also be used through a command line interface for individuals that want to work the code and see the effects of the changes immediately. This system was developed at Oregon State University’s OPEnS Lab, here is a link to the project page for more detailed information. URL for project page: http://www.open-sensing.org/hyper-rail/