OpenXR Webinar Recap: Working Group Announces Samples, OpenXR 1.0 Implementations, and More
OpenXR is a royalty-free, open standard that provides high-performance access to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)—collectively known as XR—platforms and devices.
OpenXR development has been advancing quickly and is becoming the de-facto API for XR. Since the 1.0 version was released last year, there are now multiple conformant implementations from Microsoft and Oculus. Minecraft, Blender, Chromium, and Firefox Reality have also all embraced OpenXR.
Last week, the OpenXR Working Group held a webinar where Brent Insko, OpenXR Working Group Chair and lead XR architect at Intel, was joined by Working Group members Brad Grantham, LunarG; Jakob Bornecrantz, Collabora; Robert Blenkinsopp, Ultraleap; Sam Robinson, Holochip; Sam Morales, Holochip; and Steve Winston, Holochip, to discuss new conformant implementations, experimental overlays and hand tracking extensions, and more.
As OpenXR advances, support from the industry is growing. On October 23, Unity promised OpenXR platform support by the end of the year, adopting it as the primary platform backend, now recognizing that the standard is reaching maturity. “Enabling OpenXR support on our partner platforms also affords us the ability to make this widely available for other OpenXR runtimes/devices. Early next year, we plan to release an experimental version of Unity OpenXR that works with other conformant OpenXR runtimes based on the OpenXR 1.0 specification,” writes Matt Fuad, Sr, Technical Product Manager, AR/VR at Unity Technologies. Read the full announcement here.
Blender’s 2.83 update included its first wave of VR support with OpenXR, supporting SteamVR through the standard. This initial implementation is for scene inspection to streamline production by allowing the Blender team to use a VR headset to see the assets and animations they’re creating for VR games. Blender indicated that VR features are expected in their own future releases. Now, Blender has also joined Khronos to participate in the OpenXR Working Group and support the standard’s future development. They’ve announced upcoming VR features expected in their own future releases.
In addition to support for the standard, new conformant implementations are continuously being released. Oculus began supporting OpenXR 1.0 in v19 - developers can now submit their applications to the Oculus Rift store; the Quest and Quest 2 are also OpenXR conformant. In October, HTC announced a conformant implementation for the OpenXR runtime on the VIVE Cosmos headset for testing OpenXR applications on the device. Each instance of expanded adoption represents another step toward simplified content development and reduced fragmentation.
There are new OpenXR resources and tools for developers:
- Collabora’s Monado, the open-source XR platform, is OpenXR conformant, though they haven’t officially submitted the conformance results. Monado has an OpenXR runtime for Linux, and they’re working on Android support this year and showed an early preview in the webinar.
- LunarG has made available an API Layer providing experimental overlay support.
- Holochip also announced developer resources for OpenXR which will be available soon. The resources include a demo framework for Linux (Windows and macOS are coming) for accelerated development, providing a sample OpenXR compliant applica
- Ultraleap has also released an OpenXR API layer which provides hand-tracking support for Windows runtimes using an Ultraleap Tracking Device.
You can listen to the full webinar and Q&A here .
If you want to become directly involved in the OpenXR Working Group, any company is welcome to join Khronos to have a voice and a vote in the evolution of any of its standardization activities. Learn more about OpenXR at www.khronos.org/openxr.