Announcement: Khronos Virtual Reality Standard Initiative
December 6th 2016 – SIGGRAPH Asia - Macau – The Khronos™ Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced a call for participation in a new initiative to define a cross-vendor, royalty-free, open standard for access to modern virtual reality (VR) devices.
The rapid growth of the virtual reality market has led to platform fragmentation, forcing VR applications and engines to be ported and customized to run on multiple VR runtimes, and requiring VR sensors and displays to be integrated with multiple driver interfaces. This fragmentation slows the widespread availability of compelling VR experiences, creating added expense for developers wishing to support multiple VR devices, and hindering the adoption of innovative user interface technologies.
“Khronos has been on the forefront of advanced graphics and system APIs for over 15 years, and in keeping with that tradition and obligation to the industry at large has embarked on a new, vitally needed set of APIs and standards for the emerging VR market. We applaud the industry-leading companies that are coming together as Khronos members for this endeavor, and expect the whole industry will share our sentiment,” said Jon Peddie, President of JPR.
Key components of the new standard will include APIs for tracking of headsets, controllers and other objects, and for easily integrating devices into a VR runtime. This will enable applications to be portable to any VR system that conforms to the Khronos standard, significantly enhancing the end-user experience, and driving more choice of content to spur further growth in the VR market.
Fast-paced work on detailed proposals and designs will start after an initial exploratory phase to define the standard’s scope and key objectives. Any company interested to participate is strongly encouraged to join Khronos for a voice and a vote in the development process. Design contributions from any member are welcome. More information on this initiative and joining the Khronos Group is available at www.khronos.org/vr.
Press Release: Khronos Announces VR Standards Initiative
Got something say about Khronos' new initiative in VR? Just want to chat... this is the place. Who's going to be first up?
News coverage - updated December 9th 2016
What about augmented reality? Why not make a thing for AR as well? I feel VR is only good for entertainment, but AR is way more useful.
a Lot of what we do will be useful for AR as well as VR - but our focus for 1.0 is on shipping VR functionality.
Nice to see an open VR API. When will 1.0 proposal come out?
On the diagram in the announcement, OSVR is listed as a "VR Device". This is incorrect. The "OSVR Hacker Development Kit" is a VR device that is supported by OSVR, but "OSVR" is a standard and SDK supporting multiple VR devices.
And not just head-mounted-displays. OSVR provides abstracted interfaces for:
- Orientation and/or position tracking devices (HMDs and hand trackers).
- Controllers (button and analog inputs).
- Eye tracking (blinking, 2D and 3D).
- Skeletal tracking (anywhere from hands-only to full-body).
- Locomotion (relative movement, e.g. treadmills).
These devices are supported via the PluginKit API - devices each have their own plugins that adapt their device to the standard interfaces. Client applications write code against the ClientKit API, and are insulated from the details of each device by coding against the standard interfaces above. OSVR provides a semantic path tree to locate devices. So instead of accessing devices by name or by index, you access them via a semantic path. For example, the head-tracking interface for the user's HMD is mapped to the semantic path "/me/head" by convention. The left hand is mapped to "/me/hands/left", and so on.
Will the visual portion of the VR API be incorporated into Vulkan/OpenGL rather than being a separate API such that you can send a VkImageView/Framebuffer to the left or right eye/headset screen, or will it only work with Vulkan/OpenGL and be located within a separate API along with the controller/sensor parts?
Originally Posted by Kaiwenguo
From the Voices of VR article with interview Neil Trevett:
Neil estimated that this standardization process usually takes around 18 months to finalize, but it may move quicker depending upon how motivated the major companies are to lock it down and remove barriers to innovation. Designing an open standard is more of an art than a science, and Neil said that they would try to limit the scope of the standard, but also allow for extensions.
We are currently a promoter member of Khronos (not ready to unveil the name now) and considering to participate this VR standard api initiative. Questions we have now:
1. How to participate this initiative officially? Do you have a on-boarding process?
2. How to involve in the standardization process? Do you have a regular meeting schedule? or a online collaboration process? a review process?
3. Are all members of this initiative group equal? Or there are still a smaller core committee in this group with greater power?
4. Where to get the detailed timeline with milestones for this 18 month process? Where to access the current documents/designs?
If you couldn't answer, could you send me the contact of the right person?
Ensure that the VR standard initiative is multi-platform!
While it might be tempting to learn towards Windows, for example, due to the fact that most headsets work only on it...
Please be sure that your new standard will be multi-platform from the start and not depend on any proprietary technologies!
VR standards need to be widely available. Platforms that would be good to target are: Windows, macOS, Android, and desktop Linux.
Possibly also: Consoles, BSD, Tizen, and iOS.
A passionate consumer
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