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Chapter 9:
Control Computers and Reconstructors €— The Brains
Just as the wavefront sensor is the eyes of the adaptive optics system and the deformable mirror is its fingers, the control computer is the brains of the system. While many systems can have just a few wires connecting the output of the sensor to the mirror, some systems have racks and racks of electronics to make the precise calculations necessary to drive the control mirrors with the confusing signals from the wavefront sensor detectors. Many servo-control systems have been developed over the centuries. From simple pressure regulators to the artificial intelligence of robots, the idea of automatic control of a process was advanced. While controls engineers spoke in tongues with block diagrams and Laplace transforms and assumed recognition of terms such as gain, type II controller, and phase lag, the adaptive optics scientists were going all-out to coordinate multiple feedback loops, all working in parallel, to drive a multiactuator deformable mirror.
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