Open source Firefox Reality is a mixed reality browser that could bring VR mainstream

The new project from Mozilla, built with Servo, could be run on multiple platforms.

VR and AR: What are they and what makes them different?
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Mozilla is releasing Firefox Reality, a browser designed for VR and AR applications.
  • Firefox Reality is open source and will be usable on a variety of platforms, which could make it a platform for multiple companies to get involved in AR and VR.

Mozilla announced in a Tuesday blog post that it's building a new browser specially for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications. The browser, named Firefox Reality, is open source and designed for use on standalone headsets.

In the post, Mozilla claims that Reality is the "first cross-platform browser for mixed reality." There are other browsing solutions out there, the post noted, but they are closed for use in a specific tech ecosystem or on a specific platform. Firefox Reality, however, is designed to work on "a wide variety of devices and platforms," the post said.

Firefox Reality is also open source, which the post said will make it easier for manufacturers to add it to their platform while also adding transparency. This is perhaps the most poignant aspect of Reality, in that it could provide a common platform for OEMs to build their AR and VR hardware off of, similar to what Google did with Android. This makes it easier to develop web-based AR and VR content as well, as it can be developed for a single platform and reach a wide audience.

SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research)

By lowering the barrier to entry with the creation of an independent, open source browser, Mozilla has given smaller companies an easier way to engage with the VR and AR markets--whether by developing their own hardware or building their own apps and experiences.

According to the post, Firefox Reality is also built with privacy in mind. While the firm admitted in the post that it still doesn't know what privacy looks like in the medium of AR and VR, it noted that it takes privacy seriously and will "build on the proven permissions model of the web platform, which provides even more protection than native apps provide."

Mozilla also stated in the post that it was using the techniques behind its faster Quantum browser to make Reality a fast browser in its own right.

Firefox Reality was built on a combination of Firefox web technology and its experimental web engine Servo. The Servo team recently joined the Mixed Reality team at Mozilla, the post said.

As noted in a separate blog, more details on Firefox Reality will be coming in the next few weeks. The source code is available here.

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Image: Mozilla