What you need to know

  • The new OpenXR 1.0 specification will help virtual and augmented reality work well across platforms.
  • OpenXR is supported by several large companies in the VR and AR industries.
  • Microsoft added OpenXR support to Windows Mixed Reality last week.

The Khronos Group released a new specification for OpenXR. The OpenXR 1.0 specification helps unify standards for augmented and virtual reality, which are referred to collectively as XR. The specification can be found at Github.

OpenXR is a standard set in place to ensure that developers can use code across multiple XR platforms. Several large companies, including Oculus, SteamVR, HTC, and Microsoft, have worked to support OpenXR. Last week, Microsoft added OpenXR support to Windows Mixed Reality devices.

The Khronos post announcing the release outlined how this specification will help XR going forward (via MSPU).

With this 1.0 release, the working group will evolve the standard while maintaining full backwards compatibility from this point onward, giving software developers and hardware vendors a solid foundation upon which to deliver incredible, portable, user experiences."

Don Box, a Technical Fellow at Microsoft, joined other large players in the XR industry in stating the importance of open technologies.

The mobile era of computing was defined and ultimately constrained by closed ecosystems. With mixed reality, the next wave of computing must be and will be open... Today, Microsoft is proud to release the first OpenXR 1.0 runtime that supports mixed reality, for all Windows Mixed Reality and HoloLens 2 users. We are excited to now work with the OpenXR community to design the key extensions that will bring mixed reality to life, with full support by end of year for HoloLens 2 hand tracking, eye tracking, spatial mapping and spatial anchors."

While virtual and augmented reality are not new, they are still in relatively early stages when compared to other technologies. Having open standards to improve cross-platform support and future compatibility will help XR grow in the future.

Portable (and affordable) power accessories we love

Each and every one of these charging gadgets will keep your favorite gear and gadgets going for longer, and none of them costs more than $30.

VisionTek 8,000 mAh micro-USB power bank ($13 at Dell)

This compact dual-output powerbank can speedily recharge any and all your devices, thanks to a two-amp "fast charge feature," using its micro-USB out port. Its simple design includes an LED indicator, and it costs about as much as a single ticket to the movies.

Panasonic eneloop AA batteries (From $13 at Dell)

Panasonic's rechargeable batteries are among the best available, and just a couple of them will keep your favorite remote, mice or other peripherals powered up when you need them. They're also eco. And the company's affordable charger fits and charges both AA and AAA batteries at the same time.

Belkin Qi Wireless Charging Pad ($30 at Dell)

This unobtrusive Qi wireless charging pad looks good (and kind of like a UFO …) and easily charges all your Qi-compatible device up to 5W. Its LED indicator lights up when you're charging. And it costs just $30.

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