The Khronos Group announced at GTC 2019 the ratification and public release of the OpenXR 0.90 provisional specification.
OpenXR is a unifying, royalty-free, open standard that provides high-performance access to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)— collectively known as XR—platforms and devices. The new specification can be found on the Khronos website and is released in provisional form to enable developers and implementers to provide feedback at the OpenXR forum.
The OpenXR 0.90 provisional release specifies a cross-platform Application Programming Interface (API) enabling XR hardware platform vendors to expose the functionality of their runtime systems. By accessing a common set of objects and functions corresponding to application lifecycle, rendering, tracking, frame timing, and input, which are frustratingly different across existing vendor-specific APIs, software developers can run their applications across multiple XR systems with minimal porting effort— reducing industry fragmentation.
The Khronos OpenXR working group was formed in early 2017 with the support and participation of XR companies. Throughout the development of the specification, multiple Khronos members have been developing independent implementations to ensure a complete specification. Many of these implementations are becoming available for developers to evaluate including the ‘Monado’ OpenXR open source implementation from Collabora and the OpenXR runtime for Windows Mixed Reality headsets from Microsoft shipping today. Additionally, the Unreal Engine from Epic plans to continue to support OpenXR.
“OpenXR seeks to simplify AR/VR software development, enabling applications to reach a wider array of hardware platforms without having to port or re-write their code and subsequently allowing platform vendors supporting OpenXR access to more applications,” said Brent Insko, lead VR architect at Intel and OpenXR working group chair. “The OpenXR provisional specification—together with the runtimes publicly available at launch and coming in the next few weeks—will enable hands-on, cross-platform testing by application and engine developers. The working group welcomes developer feedback to ensure an OpenXR 1.0 specification that truly meets the needs of the XR industry.”