2 August 2016 AAO Starbugs: software control and associated algorithms
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Abstract
The Australian Astronomical Observatory's TAIPAN instrument deploys 150 Starbug robots to position optical fibres to accuracies of 0.3 arcsec, on a 32 cm glass field plate on the focal plane of the 1.2 m UK-Schmidt telescope. This paper describes the software system developed to control and monitor the Starbugs, with particular emphasis on the automated path-finding algorithms, and the metrology software which keeps track of the position and motion of individual Starbugs as they independently move in a crowded field. The software employs a tiered approach to find a collision-free path for every Starbug, from its current position to its target location. This consists of three path-finding stages of increasing complexity and computational cost. For each Starbug a path is attempted using a simple method. If unsuccessful, subsequently more complex (and expensive) methods are tried until a valid path is found or the target is flagged as unreachable.
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Nuria P. F. Lorente, Minh V. Vuong, Keith Shortridge, Tony J. Farrell, Scott Smedley, Sungwook E. Hong, Carlos Bacigalupo, Michael Goodwin, Kyler Kuehn, Christophe Satorre, "AAO Starbugs: software control and associated algorithms", Proc. SPIE 9913, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV, 99130U (2 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233685; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233685
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