Immersive Web Weekly

Issue #047, April 20, 2021,

An Apple Event starts in 30 minutes from when I write this but it's still time for me to push "publish". If the fruit team finally pull back the curtain on a pair of Mountain View Viewers and a version of Safari that supports WebXR then the industry will release a collective sigh of relief. If, more likely, there's some other reason that all of their event imagery has digital information reflected on eyeglasses then the same people will still release a collective sigh of relief. Status quo!
Check your petrol levels, prime the pump, and rev up your rumor engines because it's time for another issue of the Immersive Web Weekly!

- Trevor Flowers, host of the WebXR Developer Summit on May 25

Hands go live

In what is one of the shortest periods of time that I've seen between an initial spec and a shipped feature, Rik Cabanier of Facebook announced that the WebXR Hands API (still a draft) is now on by default in Quest's browser.

Town Hall to Prep for WebXR Developer Summit

Last week the team that produced the WebXR Awards announced the WebXR Developer Summit but before that event your faithful editor will host a rapid-fire town hall on Zoom and in Discord. I want to hear from many more people than we can fit into the summit. I'll ask you what you want me to cover on May 25th and also what you want from the immersive web over the next couple of years. Free tickets are available for the town hall event on May 2nd and the developer summit on May 25th.

Build a WebXR Climbing Game

In this 12 minute video tutorial you'll see how to implement a climbing game that runs on the Wonderland Engine. One of the advantages of these all-in-one editor/engine/hosting platforms is that the development of prototypes can be rapid and then those prototypes can be iteratively and collaboratively turned into shippable experiences.

Packaging Three.js projects as eco-NFTs

The turbulent world of blockchain-based technologies has a nice pocket of calm (and reduced pollution) in the form of XR experiences shared via Hic et Nunc. Developer Mario Carrillo announced that he's released an easy to use template for creating Three.js-based eco-NFTs.

Selections for Recto VRso

Though Recto VRso 2021 is complete their selections of immersive web art remain online.

Depth and Lighting in Chrome 90

The new release of the Chrome browser has moved lighting estimation in WebXR from an origin trial to being on by default. As demonstrated here, this gives creators information about the lights in the environment so that they can (optionally, of course) render their digital information to better blend into physical reality. Version 90 also shipped an origin trail of the WebXR depth API which provides creators with information about the geometry of their environment.

browser Chromium contributors

Immersive Web Apps on the Oculus Store and Steam

This tweet and accompanying video by long-time immersive web engineer James Baicoianu caused quite a bit of excitement this week. By enabling WebXR sessions inside the Electron app framework there is a real possibility that immersive web applications will be accepted by native-centric app stores like the Oculus Store and Steam. This opens up another path for payment for web developers.

Activate the Smithsonian

I ran across this excellent program when ScienceVR announced they were selected:

The Activating Smithsonian Open Access Challenge (ASOA) from Cooper Hewitt’s Interaction Lab aims to support creative technology teams in designing engaging interactive experiences with Smithsonian Open Access collections for people all over the globe. Made possible by Verizon 5G Labs, this open call for proposals sought to stimulate new ideas for inspiring digital interactions with over 3 million 2D and 3D objects in the Smithsonian’s Open Access collections, all available under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license for download, re-use, alteration, and even commercialization.

Mocap -> Hubs

XR experience creator Ari Tarr has put together a motion capture workflow from Flipside Studio, through Blender, and into Mozilla Hubs.

On Anchors and Teleportation

BabylonJS contributor Justin Murray about the logical error of limiting core concepts to a single XR mode:

After further conversation and investigation, we concluded that it actually is possible for an experience to need both teleportation and anchors. In fact, an example of such an experience was first prototyped and demoed more than five years ago. The problem, we realized, was that our definition for teleportation had been flawed: instead of defining teleportation in terms of changing the POV position, we should have defined it in terms of changing the real-to-virtual world correspondence. That simple redefinition completely reframed our understanding of the relationship between teleportation and anchors, allowing us to recognize that a single experience can, in fact, very reasonably require both features.

Ada and XR Women

On April 21st the weekly meeting of XR Women will host our very own co-chair, Ada Rose Cannon, to talk about the immersive web.

Map Sensory Realities

Funded in part by Arts Council England, this team provides a variety of pain management experiences:

Within this virtual reality experience, you will be guided to create your own, life-sized body map, which visualizes and explores lived experience. You will be led through a series of meditative and creative activities based on the tenets of mindfulness during the body mapping process in order to help articulate and visually express experiences of the every day and experiences of pain, emotion and sensory experience.

Earth-esque City Explorer

It's no secret among my friends that Google Earth VR is one of my all-time favorite XR applications so I am excited to see demonstrations of similar GIS data in WebXR.

Code Within The Code Within the Rig

Devon Bradley of Couch Live and Desktop Vision shared the experience (and code) of writing experiences with Three.js from within the environment rendered by Three.js. (It makes sense when you're in there!)

self-similarity library Devon Bradley

Key Points Flows Wolf 3D Bodies into WebXR

Key Points is a web app under development that will record motion capture data and then package it for release on your web site. They support the portable Wolf 3D bodies which can be created and edited within Ready Player Me.

motion capture digital body Francois Laberge

Virtual Frederick Visitor Center

The BraincaveXR studio has created a visitor center for Frederick, Maryland with interactive exhibits about the city. If you read this far, dear reader, then I'll tell you a secret: My middle initial has always been 'F' but before it stood in for 'Flowers' it was for 'Frederick'. 🤫