Immersive Web Weekly

Issue #032, January 05, 2021,

The past few weeks in my home have been mostly filled with baked goods, naps, and films but the web never sleeps so there are a number of interesting announcements and news items to share. I did make a little time to play the piano and train a bit in MS Flight Simulator's new VR mode. Based on my many crashes, it will be a long time before I quit making XR experiences to become a pilot.
Run through your pre-flight checklist, tell your passengers to take their seats, and ask the controller tower for permission to take flight because it's time for another issue of the Immersive Web Weekly!

- Trevor Flowers from Transmutable

Using Computer Vision to Emulate WebXR

By using a webcam and computer vision, Oz Ramos has built a new extension, Handsfree WebXR, that allows developers without headsets or tracked controllers to test out their content in WebXR. The code builds on the great work in Mozilla's extension to support even more immersive web creators.

computer vision emulation Oz Ramos

Hints of A Holiday Uptick

WebXR specification co-editor Brandon Jones noticed that over the Winter holidays there was a steep rise in downloads of a common open source library provided by the Immersive Web Community Group. The library provides controller metadata and 3D models for all major headsets and controllers thanks to the coordinated effort across organizations that is somewhat unique to standards groups like the W3C. The uptick in library usage seems to indicate that not only did a lot of people get new XR rigs this year but they also jumped onto the immersive web!

Reality Check: Looking Back at Augmented Reality in 2020

Tom Emrich from 8th Wall evaluates his predictions for AR in 2020 to see how close his prognostication matched the rather surprising reality that was last year. Prediction #9 is about the immersive web but the entire essay is interesting and contains helpful links to many additional resources.

year in review Tom Emrich

Desktop Vision

This week Desktop Vision launched a public beta, providing a remote desktop tool for the web that works in both flat and XR display modes. This sort of seamless mode switching on the wider web meets people where they are in terms of hardware and input which is one of the main differences between the immersive web and native XR platforms.

Somnium Space Adds Another Three Dimensions

Somnium Space announced this week that their blockchain-based VR world is now available on the immersive web. They describe their product as an "Open, Social, Virtual Reality world with its own economy and its own currency," similar to Cryptovoxels which we covered in issue 12.