Finish this proof:
1. All closed-source binary-only firmware BLOBs suck. 2. The software for the A111 radar part is supplied as a closed-source binary-only firmware BLOB. 3. Therefore, it follows that ______________
When I first saw this part and noticed that it used an SPI interface, I was pretty psyched. SPI interfaces are easy and supported everywhere. Then I agreed to Acconeer's license so I could download their software to try the part out. It turns out that they don't document the SPI interface at all, but merely provide pre-compiled code that interfaces with the part. The license agreement allows me to distribute a binary containing their drivers as long as I license it to end users under an agreement at least as restrictive as the one I agreed to (at least I think it says that - don't rely on my opinion here).
So, OK, I won't use their software (except maybe to initially test the PCB). But, in their agreement, it says I can't reverse-engineer the part (as pointed out in the comments below - I can't reverse engineer the software, but having signed the agreement, this practically means the part, too). So, trying to figure out the SPI protocol/commands is off limits. If I had just bought the part and slapped it on the PCB, I could have hacked away at the protocol to see if I could get it to do anything. But, having signed the agreement, I don't think I can do that anymore.
So, this project may just end up being a breakout PCB for the part, without any useful software of my own. You could still use it with Acconeer's software (assuming you agree to their terms). On the positive side, it should cost less than $20, as opposed to $250 for the two development kit boards you would otherwise need to purchase from Acconeer. In that sense, it will be a success if it works, but the software situation is still quite disappointing.
I've attached their software license agreement in its entirety below.
This is all garbage - it's a chip, people - sell me the part and tell me how to program it - don't go full Microsoft with this paranoid licensing nonsense!