Using Oculus Rift with your Web Browser for Science

Sandy Ressler

National Institute of Standards and Technology



  • A little VR background quickie
  • Integrating the Web
  • Examples and Uses
  • Issues/Problems
  • To the Future!

Disclaimer: Any mention of commercial products is for illustrative purposes and does not constitute and endorsement by NIST

A Little VR Background

Lawnmower Man

Jaron Lanier



What happened to VR?

  • Expensive
  • User interface (sickness) issues
  • Ahead of its time

Virtual Reality 2.0

  • Very inexpensive
  • Moore's law caught works!
  • VR/AR/MR
  • Immersive
  • Can work with the Web
  • Ubiquitous (thanks to WebGL)
  • That VIDEO stuff

Now result of google search brings up lots of stuff to buy

It's Facebook's Fault

Purchase of Oculus for $2B got lots of people very excited

What's the BIG Win?

Integrating with the Web

The Big Win Using the Web

It's about the tools!

Ubiquity is the game.

WebGL is everywhere

VR is Universal

@oculus via cfriend11

Web based

  • Ubiquity means BILLIONS of people
  • Desktop rapidly giving way to Mobile
  • Web-based provides smoother path to Mobile

Declarative VS. Imperative

  • imperative: how to draw
  • declarative: what to draw
    • natural fit for <web></web>

Declarative VR

  • <scene>
  • <stereo projection='360x60">
  • <headtracking type='HMD'> 
  • <navigation type='mouse | leap'>

Enables the use of Web development infrastructure for graphic applications.

This is A BIG DEAL!!

Jsbin is a JavaScript debugger - use it here for graphics!

Examples and Uses

Virtual Objects & Environments

  • good ole' fashioned CG but with stereo and/or interactivity
    • annotations (or other metadata)
    • virtual walkthroughs (sequence of viewpoints)
  • Objects and environments difficult or impossible to visit (they don't exist yet)

CSIRO Insect 3D

Equipment (STMhead before it existed)

Microscope Facility (pre-construction)

Using Oculus with X3DOM - Facility

360 degree immersive videos

From CAVE to the Web


Matterport - Mass market real estate

Scientific Visualization

Issues & Problems

Going Blind

  • You put the HMD on and the world (including your keyboard and mouse) disappear
  • solution other devices (Leap):

Leap for input while in VR env

Be Happy

To the Future!



  • Part of the WTF (What's the Future) economy

    • Virtual Travel
    • Guided virtually there tours
    • Personalized virtual science lessons
    • read: breakingsmart (Venkatesh Rao)
      • smart ass kids can disrupt economies i.e. Palmer Luckey & Oculus


The End

Thanks for coming!

Sutherland’s Sword of Damocles, as worn by University of Utah student Donald Vickers

Using Oculus Rift with your Web Browser for Science

By Sandy Ressler

Using Oculus Rift with your Web Browser for Science


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