Starbugs: Demonstration and Commercialization

  • Hopkins, Andrew (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Colless, Matthew (Chief Investigator)
  • Lawrence, Jon (Chief Investigator)
  • Issa, Zinoca (Chief Investigator)
  • Lorente, Nuria (Chief Investigator)
  • Said, Khaled (Chief Investigator)
  • Barat, Dilyar (Chief Investigator)
  • Contos, Adam (Chief Investigator)
  • McCarthy, Pat (Chief Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


The innovative Starbugs technology developed in Australia uses self-powered mini-robots to precisely position optical fibres in astronomical instruments. Starbugs will be utilized in the MANIFEST instrument being designed by Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) for the next-generation Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). A prototype Starbugs system called TAIPAN is being built by AAO for the UK Schmidt Telescope. The goal of this project is to validate the Starbugs technology and performance using TAIPAN and to identify opportunities to commercialize Starbugs for astronomy and other applications. The two specific outcomes that this project will deliver are: (1) a TRL 8 validation of the Starbugs technology through on-sky demonstration with the TAIPAN prototype system, including a complete quantification of the performance and reliability of Starbugs based on actual astronomical observations; and (2) the identification of applications of Starbugs in astronomy beyond the GMT, together with technology transfer routes to industry for future commercialization.
Effective start/end date1/07/1931/12/19