ASTRO.control Remote Camera Server

Remote Camera Server

The Remote Camera Server - RCS - is designed to bring a camera to the internet. Many cameras come with USB 2 or 3, CameraLink or proprietary framegrabber interfaces. However, frequently in astronomy, experimental physics or other instrument setups the need arises to control one or more cameras remotely over the network. The RCS is a dedicated ASTRO.control solution for exactly this purpose.

One or more camera is connected to the RCS by either of the above mentioned interfaces on short distance. The RCS is based on a robust, embedded, industrial PC (IPC), which allows to mount it close to the camera in an experimental setup. Output interface of the RCS is a standard GBit Ethernet cable, or fibre optics cable via media converter.

The RCS control software provides a REST server with an API to allow clients (operator workstations) to monitor & control the camera and receive the acquired image stream over the LAN or even WAN. Multiple clients may connect to the REST server in parallel. The REST API concept is a well-known HTTP based protocol for control use cases.

The RCS is available for various camera models, among them many Andor scientific cameras, see our Andor support page.


ASTRO.control development platform

There is no need to start from scratch. The concept and architecure of ASTRO.control has been manifested in a software; we call it the ASTRO.control development platform. It provides a foundation and environment on which specific camera control applications can be implemented efficiently. The platform includes:

  • Support for a wide range of industrial grade PCs. IPCs are robust enough for harsh observatory environment, have low power consumption and heat dissipation, and are available in every configuration and performance class.
  • A dedicated Linux distribution, tailored for embedded control software is used as operating system.
  • A software infrastructure for process control, configuration, error handling, event logging, image acquisition, image transfer over network, etc. is provided.
  • Application library modules for e.g. storing acquired images on RCS disk (for later upload), real-time image pre-preprocessing (calibration, centroiding, life stacking, ...) and FITS conversion.