Firefox Steps into 3D

Jul 01, 2014

New initiative will bring futuristic virtual reality effects to the web surfing experience.

Vladimir Vukićević, Mozilla's director of engineering, has announced an effort to integrate virtual reality (VR) technologies into the Firefox browser. According to Vukićević, Firefox developers will begin adding support for virtual reality devices, such as Oculus Rift, to experimental Firefox builds "so that Web developers can start experimenting with adding VR interactivity to their websites and content."
Other changes will follow as the developers continue to prepare Firefox for a 3D future. Vukićević's blog post outlines the following goals for Firefox's VR initiative:

  • Rendering Canvas (WebGL or 2D) to VR output devices.
  • Rendering 3D video to VR output devices (as directly as possible).
  • Rendering HTML (DOM+CSS) content to VR output devices – taking advantage of existing CSS features such as 3D transforms.
  • Mixing WebGL-rendered 3D content with DOM-rendered 3D-transformed content in a single 3D space.
  • Receiving input from orientation and position sensors, with a focus on reducing latency from input/render to final presentation.

Vukićević points out that the experimental VR version of Firefox is not currently in the main Firefox source tree. The immediate goal is to get feedback from developers and VR device vendors that will help set the direction and priorities for the work ahead. Ultimately, the team hopes to integrate VR functionality fully with mainstream Firefox versions.

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