Google has been publicly building tiny radar chips since 2015. They can tell you how well you sleep, control a smartwatch, count sheets of paper, and let you play the world’s tiniest violin. But the company’s Soli radar hasn’t necessarily had commercial success, most prominently featuring in an ill-fated Pixel phone. Now, Google has launched an open-source API standard called Ripple that could theoretically bring the tech to additional devices outside Google — perhaps even a car, as Ford is one of the participants in the new standard.
Technically, Ripple is under the auspices of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the same industry body that hosts the CES tradeshow in Las Vegas each January, but there’s little question who’s actually behind the project. “Ripple will unlock helpful innovation that benefits everyone. General purpose radar is a key emerging technology for solving critical use cases in a privacy-respecting way,” reads a quote from Ivan Poupyrev, the man who led the team at Google’s ATAP skunkworks that came up with Soli in the first place.
“Standard Radar API” appears to be the original name
Additionally, the Ripple project at Github is filled with references to Google, including several instances of “Copyright 2021 Google LLC,” and contributors have to sign a Google open source license agreement to participate. (One commit points out that the project was updated “to include CTA.”) Ripple appears to be a rebranding of…