Getting Started with the A111 Pulsed Radar Sensor

Contributors: jimblom, bboyho
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Heads up! If you are looking for the hookup guide for the SparkX version of the A111, you can check out the retired tutorial: Using the A111 Pulsed Radar Sensor with a Raspberry Pi. However, the older tutorial is outdated due to the SDK version used in the previous guide.

Does your project require high-precision, cutting-edge distance, speed, motion, and/or gesture sensing? We're not talking ultrasonic, or even infrared here, but 60GHz radar! Say hello to our tiny, pulsed radar friend the Acconeer A111!

SparkFun Pulsed Radar Breakout - A111

4 Retired

The A111 is a single-chip solution for pulsed coherent radar (PCR) -- it comes complete with antennae and an SPI interface capable of speeds of up to 50MHz. Applications for PCR include distance-sensing, gesture, motion, and speed detection. The sensor can monitor one-or-more objects at distances of up to two meters.

Our breakout board for the A111 includes a 1.8V regulator, voltage-level translation, and it breaks out all pins of the pulsed radar sensor to both 0.1-inch and Raspberry Pi-friendly headers.

Required Materials

To use the A111 you'll need either an ARMv7 or an ARM Cortex-M4 -- the closed-source SDK currently only supports these architectures. This tutorial will explain how to use the radar sensor with a Raspberry Pi -- a platform based on an architecture supported by the A111's SDK.

The A111 Breakout includes a 20-pin, 2x10 female header, which should mate to Raspberry Pi's of any generation. If you'd rather manually wire the A111 to your Raspberry Pi and about 9 male-to-female wires should do the trick.

Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Starter Kit

Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Starter Kit

Jumper Wires Premium 12" M/F Pack of 10

Jumper Wires Premium 12" M/F Pack of 10


SparkFun Pulsed Radar Breakout - A111

4 Retired

Optional Materials

You have several options when it comes to working with the Raspberry Pi. Most commonly, the Pi is used as a standalone computer, which requires a monitor, keyboard, and mouse (listed below). To save on costs, the Pi can also be used as a headless computer (without a monitor, keyboard, and mouse). This setup has a slightly more difficult learning curve, as you will need to use the command-line interface (CLI) from another computer.

Raspberry Pi LCD - 7" Touchscreen

Raspberry Pi LCD - 7" Touchscreen

Multimedia Wireless Keyboard

Multimedia Wireless Keyboard


SmartiPi Touch

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Suggested Reading

If you aren’t familiar with the following concepts, we recommend checking out these tutorials before continuing. Using the Pi as a headless setup or with VNC can be useful when developing applications with the Pi.

Raspberry Pi SPI and I2C Tutorial

Learn how to use serial I2C and SPI buses on your Raspberry Pi using the wiringPi I/O library for C/C++ and spidev/smbus for Python.

Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit Hookup Guide

Guide for getting going with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ starter kit.

Headless Raspberry Pi Setup

Configure a Raspberry Pi without a keyboard, mouse, or monitor.

How to Use Remote Desktop on the Raspberry Pi with VNC

Use RealVNC to connect to your Raspberry Pi to control the graphical desktop remotely across the network.