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Online monitoring of stem diameter information without interrupting natural growth of the crops is important for the water-saving irrigation. In order to build a compact, mobile measurement system we choose DSP embedded Smart Camera VC-4472 as the main components of our device. The smart VC-4472 has integrated three TMS320C64xx DSP cores and has a higher image processing power than the conventional PC-based image processing system. The real-time processing of the image can be accomplished on the camera alone without using PC. Secondly, the imaging system of the device uses a background illumination source to improve the quality of images of stems. Comparison between conventional imaging method and our way is made to verify the advantage of the imaging system of this device. Finally, we design embedded programs with the function of image acquisition, edge detection and data storage. Such programs enable us to automatically measure and record the diameter of plant stem. Comparisons are made to show the effect of stems measurement under different illuminating methods.