Back in late July, The Khronos® Group—an open consortium of industry-leading companies creating graphics and compute interoperability standards—announced multiple conformant implementations of OpenXR.
The implementations are shipping from Oculus and Microsoft, leveraging the newly opened OpenXR 1.0 Adopters Program and open-source conformance tests. OpenXR is a royalty-free, open standard that provides direct access into Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)—collectively known as XR—runtimes across diverse platforms and devices.
The OpenXR Adopter’s Program enables consistent cross-vendor testing and reliable operation of OpenXR across multiple platforms and devices with OpenXR-conformant products published on the Khronos Conformant Product Registry.
Enabling portability across various platforms
Khronos members Microsoft and Facebook each have multiple conformant OpenXR-enabled devices showcasing how OpenXR enables portability across diverse platforms. PC-enabled virtual reality devices include Microsoft’sWindows Mixed Reality and Oculus Rift headsets, enabling these HMDs, and any future OpenXR-compatible devices, to run the same application executable on Windows. In addition, Microsoft has released an OpenXR-conformant runtime for the HoloLens 2 headset, and Facebook has shipped a conformant runtime for the Android-based Oculus Quest, demonstrating OpenXR’s flexibility to enable portable VR and AR applications across standalone and tethered XR devices—using different underlying operating systems.
Developing OpenXR applications
In addition, Valve has released a developer preview implementation of OpenXR 1.0 with new features on SteamVR expected to now appear through OpenXR, rather than OpenVR APIs. Similarly, Varjo’s developer preview implementation of OpenXR enables the use of OpenXR applications with Varjo headsets. The Monado open-source XR runtime founded by Collabora is also more compatible and capable and is approaching conformance with OpenXR 1.0.
In parallel with finalizing the OpenXR 1.0 conformance tests, the OpenXR Working Group continues to push the API forward and announces today two OpenXR cross-vendor extensions for eye and hand tracking. These new extensions expand the range of advanced UI techniques that can be portably deployed through this cross-platform, cross-vendor API. In fact, Ultraleap has released a developer preview OpenXR integration for its hand-tracking technology for Ultraleap tracking devices.
“This is another milestone for OpenXR, and Collabora is proud to have contributed to the development of the OpenXR specification as well as the open-source conformance test suite,” said Ryan Pavlik, specification editor, OpenXR Working Group, and principal software engineer at Collabora. “The Monado open-source XR runtime project founded by Collabora is quickly approaching conformance. As a specification editor, I commend the working group on their dedication to publishing and maintaining a high-quality standard and a comprehensive test suite. The suite is designed to ensure conformance to the specification and uniform application behavior across runtimes and environments, so the industry can deliver on the OpenXR promise of unifying reality.”
XR games and applications
OpenXR enables XR games and applications to target the widest range of hardware with maximum performance. Today, Microsoft is excited to announce that Minecraft’s new RenderDragon rendering engine is building its desktop VR support using OpenXR! Further adding to OpenXR ecosystem momentum, several open-source projects have also incorporated OpenXR. The free and open-source 3D creation suite, Blender 2.83, has integrated OpenXR to deliver native VR scene inspection capabilities. Google recently released Chromium81 with OpenXR as its default backend for WebXR, enabling Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers to use any OpenXR-compatible hardware. Finally, Microsoft has released its OpenXR samples for Mixed Reality Developers as open-source, demonstrating how to use OpenXR to access the full capabilities of HoloLens 2. Firefox Reality also supports the OpenXR browser for the HoloLens 2 platform.
“Khronos has done it again, bringing divergent industry organizations, technologies, and ambitions to a common ground that benefits all parties,” said Dr. Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research. “OpenXR will not just save VR and AR—it will provide the launching pad to make all the promises, dreams, and potential be realized. An extraordinary body of work, the members are to be congratulated for their tireless effort. The industry is in your debt.”
Become and OpenXR Adopter
The OpenXR 1.0 Conformance Test Suite has been published as open-source under the Apache 2.0 license on GitHub for continued public development and for use by any company as they implement the OpenXR API on their platform. Any implementers, whether or not a Khronos member, are welcome to become an OpenXR Adopter and submit conformance test results for working group review and approval in order to use the OpenXR trademark and gain patent protection under the Khronos Intellectual Property Framework.
Industry Support for OpenXR 1.0 Adopter’s Program
“From the earliest days of VIVE, we’ve set out to keep the platform open for developers and their content, and we believe OpenXR’s work is important for the entire XR community. We’re committed to enabling the developer community to build the content and applications that power experiences across the spectrum of reality. This is a big step in the right direction for the XR industry,” said Dario Laverde, senior developer evangelist, HTC.
“Holochip develops AR flight training and simulation technology for the U.S. military and is incorporating XR capabilities into existing NAVAIR training environments. The OpenXR 1.0 spec will enable wide adoption of conformant OpenXR-enabled devices. The OpenXR spec paves the way for military simulation environments to benefit from the technical advances in the commercial XR market. These advances will lead to greater effectiveness and cost savings of training and improve the ability of warfighters to safely mitigate risks,” said Robert Batchko, CEO of Holochip Corporation.
The Khronos Group is an open, non-profit, member-driven consortium of over 150 industry-leading companies creating advanced, royalty-free, interoperability standards for 3D graphics, augmented and virtual reality, parallel programming, vision acceleration, and machine learning. Khronos activities include Vulkan®, OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, WebGL™, SPIR-V™, OpenCL™, SYCL™, OpenVX™, NNEF™, OpenXR™, 3D Commerce™, ANARI™, OpenVG™, and glTF™. Khronos members drive the development and evolution of Khronos specifications and are able to accelerate the delivery of cutting-edge platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.