January 11, 2022 report
CTA announces availability of Ripple—an open radar API standard
Officials at the Consumer Technology Association have announced the development and availability of Ripple, an open radar API standard. The API is being presented as an industry standard for the interoperability of hardware and software systems that make use of small radar devices or chips.
CTA is the organization that puts on the Consumer Electronics Show each year—it did not develop the API, Google did. They, along with Ford Motor Company, Blumio, Texas Instruments, Infineon and NXP are pushing the new API to standardize the way that devices that use radar communicate and work with one another.
Google, notably, has been using radar chips in products for over seven years. Called Soli radar, the technology is deployed in devices that monitor people while they sleep, for example, or to control a smartwatch. That same technology now forms the basis for Ripple. The team at CTA suggests new products using the API could be developed over the next few years, and they will likely include products to monitor human health, and devices to monitor occupancy in buildings, analyze human activities or help humans interact with technology in new ways, such as controlling their cars or appliances. They also note that such technologies can preserve privacy, unlike other technologies such as video cameras or microphones.
The general idea behind tiny radar systems is that they are able to detect the presence or absence of people, objects and movement. These devices could be used to determine if someone is watching a movie on their TV, for example, or whether someone's chest is rising and falling as they sleep. It could also be used to help a smart car determine if a driver is falling asleep or if they are paying attention to the road rather than their phone.
The point of a standardized API for small radar systems is seamless cross-platform interoperability. These features could become important if device makers begin installing radar devices in IoT devices. As an example, appropriately functioning devices from different makers that note when a person enters a room and turns on a light and those that detect intruders could mean the difference between the police arriving unnecessarily or a good night's sleep.
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