21 July 2010 Starbugs: focal plane fiber positioning technology
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Abstract
We report on the technological achievements of our latest Starbug prototypes and their implications for smart focal plane fiber positioning applications for wide-field astronomy. The Starbugs are innovative self-motile miniature robotic devices that can simultaneously and independently position fibers or payloads over a field plate located at the telescope's focal plane. The Starbugs concept overcomes many of the limitations associated with the traditional 'pick and place' positioners where a robot places fixed buttons onto the field plate. The new Starbug prototypes use piezoelectric actuators and have the following features: (i) new 'lift-and-step' method (discrete step) for accurate positioning over different surfaces; and (ii) operate in an inverted hanging position underneath a transparent field plate, removing the need for fibercable retractors. In this paper, we present aspects of the Starbug prototypes, including the theoretical model, mechanical design, experimental setup, algorithms, performance and applications for astronomical instrumentation.
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Michael Goodwin, Michael Goodwin, Jeroen Heijmans, Jeroen Heijmans, Ian Saunders, Ian Saunders, Jurek Brzeski, Jurek Brzeski, Will Saunders, Will Saunders, Rolf Muller, Rolf Muller, Roger Haynes, Roger Haynes, James Gilbert, James Gilbert, } "Starbugs: focal plane fiber positioning technology", Proc. SPIE 7739, Modern Technologies in Space- and Ground-based Telescopes and Instrumentation, 77391E (21 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.856777; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.856777
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