Starting today, Microsoft will livestream their free GitHub Universe conference which includes several XR-related talks:
December 8, 11:30 AM PST: Exploring kinetic typography with Three.js in 10 Minutes with Mario Carrillo.
December 10, 9:30am PST: How do you feel something you can't touch, and other questions encountered in XR by artist and programmer Eliza Struthers-Jobin.
December 10, 10:30 AM PST: The future of the web in an XR world from regular Three.js contributor Jaume Sánchez Elias.
Eliza and Mario are also performing live at 11:15am PST on December 8th.
The combination of pandemic restrictions and more commonly available XR hardware has energized the market for spatial chat applications, many of them web based. In this Wired article, Internet linguist Gretchen McCullock explores why this is happening and examines different approaches taken by the 40+ spatial chat projects that she tracks. In related news, ex-Mozilla Hubs manager Greg Fodor announced his own web-based spatial chat application, Jel.
MoleculARweb is a new marker-based AR web app announced by EPFL for use by chemistry students. A chemistry educator and an immersive web developer teamed up to create this multi-language site and they documented the process in this academic paper. I'm looking forward to seeing WebXR demos like this make their way into more educational experiences on the immersive web.
Google continues the trend of terminating their first wave of VR products with the announcement that their 3D model sharing site, Poly, will go offline on April 30th. Poly joins Daydream, Tour Creator, SoundStage, Lively, Jump, and Expeditions in the list of retired XR apps while Tilt Brush and Blocks are (at the time of publication, anyway) still supported. Sketchfab founder, Alban Denoyel, tweeted that Poly users are welcome.
The glTF standard has quickly become the preferred syntax for 3D models on the web and in technical artists' workflows. This week the standards body that develops glTF announced new extensions to it's physically based materials: clear coat, transmission, and sheen. Support for these new extensions is either already present or in development for Microsoft's Babylon.js, Google's Filament, and Three.js engines so expect to see them soon on the immersive web.