Digital Health

Ripple Standard in Action for Eldercare

Overview Ripple ™ open-radar API may not be any everyday term yet, but the new standard promises to help consumers who rely on, for example, in-home devices to monitor health status. The Ripple standard is paving the way to new products and services that can keep your loved ones safe while respecting their privacy. One company, CTA member Tellus, is demonstrating what Ripple can mean for millions of Americans.

Developed to enable radar hardware and software interoperability, the Ripple standard promises to speed growth of general-purpose radar in industrial, medical and automotive apps. That’s important because general-purpose radar is a key technology increasingly in use for life-saving purposes.
For eldercare, CTA member Tellus is demonstrating what Ripple can mean to millions of Americans. But first, it’s important to better understand the Ripple standard.

Ripple Explained

Ripple is an open-radar API standard that enables different systems and devices to connect and communicate easily. With the open API, Ripple lowers barriers to entry for organizations to introduce applications for radar. These applications might be for non-invasive and contactless monitoring of vital signs, advanced motion detection – including for falls -- and much more.
Developed by a consensus body comprised of experts from across the silicon, sensing, automotive and electronics industries, the standardized API represents an alternative to traditional solutions. Many of these have relied on technology standards unique to a specific product, service or software.
Originally released at CES 2022, the Ripple standard initially focused on enabling interoperability between frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radars by defining a hardware abstraction API, signal processing libraries, and extensions. More recently, in June 2023, the Ripple standard was expanded to cover pulsed and ultra-wideband (UWB) radar. This radio technology uses very little energy for powerful data gathering and communications particularly useful for locating and tracking at short range.  

Use Case: Tellus

There is a wide variety of applications for radar and the Ripple API. These include touchless gesture control, occupancy detection and non-invasive wellness monitoring.
Tellus is using radar to improve the quality of eldercare. By providing real-time alerts and health information relative to sleep patterns and more, Tellus arms caregivers with information that can help prevent falls and lead to safer facilities.
Tellus received a CES Innovation Award in 2022 for its groundbreaking work in this space. The company’s products are focused on dignity, and helping an aging population preserve privacy through the use of radar rather than cameras.
The Ripple standard can provide many businesses, and startups like Tellus, an opportunity to develop innovative radar applications more quickly and easily. Leveraging the Ripple API has allowed Tellus to explore a greater chipset selection for its products during a period of chip shortages.

The need for better technology in eldercare is a global problem that requires global standards. Building a product for different markets requires localization, but rarely on the firmware level. Right now, we live in a world where radar chips do not have standardized firmware, which slows down production. Firmware is hard, and requires specialized knowledge that increases the bar to enter the field. The work at Ripple is exciting for this very reason - starting one layer up on the tech stack will lead to more access, and more products and solutions, for this very exciting application of radar.

Tania A. Coke, CEO

Bringing Change for Consumers’ Benefit

Radar sensing systems, as pointed out above, have historically been designed for single applications. They incorporated hardware and software custom-developed for each purpose. As radar technology has evolved, it has become a general-purpose medium with the potential to support many applications. But it has lacked a path to interoperability.
CTA member companies voiced their concerns about single-use radar, and expressed the need for a standard to enable interoperability between radar hardware and software. From those early discussions, CTA created the Ripple Technical Working Group to provide an answer to members’ concerns.
Participants in the consensus body developing Ripple had a seat, and a say, at the decision-making table as this critical standard developed and was deployed.
Your organization can be a part of this important work, too, as CTA fosters change and consensus that benefits the technology industry. Find out how.

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