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Mozilla brings WebVR closer to reality

Mozilla is offering this week the 1.0 release of its WebVR API proposal for displaying virtual reality content in the browser.

The proposal features interfaces to VR hardware like sensors and head-mounted displays, aiding developers in building VR experiences, according to the editor's draft of WebVR. "Recent VR technology advances and community feedback have allowed us to improve the API to address developer needs," said Mozilla's Casey Yee, a virtual reality designer and developer, in a blog post. WebVR was co-developed by Mozilla technologies and Brandon Jones of the Google Chrome team.

The 1.0 specification includes VR-specific handling of device-rendering and display, the ability to traverse links between WebVR pages, and suitability for desktop and mobile experiences. Mozilla plans to include a stable implementation of the APIs in the Firefox Nightly test browser project sometime in the first half of 2016. 

Virtual reality has recently come to be viewed as ready for enterprise business use for tasks like providing virtual 3D tours and simulated test drives. In elaborating on a newfound demand for VR, Yee said he expects 2016 to be a banner year for the technology, with VR products becoming available and software companies ramping up support. "The new medium has also driven demand for Web-enabled support from browser vendors," he said.

WebVR offers support for virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift in Web applications. The specification lets developers translate position and movement information from a headset into movement around a 3D scene, according to the Mozilla Developer Network.

In 2014, Mozilla set up a virtual reality Web site, MozVR, functioning with iOS and Android devices, Google Cardboard-compatible headsets, and the Oculus Rift headset. The site also has required a WebVR enabler add-on when using Firefox.

IDG Insider

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