News: Android Chrome Browsers Get More WebXR Support via Open Source Platform A-Frame & ARCore

Android Chrome Browsers Get More WebXR Support via Open Source Platform A-Frame & ARCore

While Apple and Google have paved the way for developers to create web-based AR experiences through their respective mobile toolkits, an open source option has entered the space.

On Wednesday, A-Frame gained support for the WebXR standard on version 79 of Chrome browsers for ARCore-compatible Android devices. This enables developers to publish AR content via HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) websites.

According to documentation posted just days ago, users will need to enable the WebXR AR Module within the experimental chrome://flags settings and then restart the browser to apply the settings.

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

AR experiences built with A-Frame version 1.0.3 or newer automatically detect the presence of the AR Module and display an AR button to launch the experience.

A sample experience featuring a spinosaurus is available to demonstrate the functionality. Developers Marc Heller and Gabriel Martins also shared their own experiments via Twitter.

The WebXR AR Module support in A-Frame currently has some limitations, such as lacking interactivity. However, this will be addressed in future versions of A-Frame via hit test and document object model (DOM) overlay layer features.

The open source A-Frame framework was originally created by Mozilla, but it is now maintained by the tool's co-creators at VR studio Supermedium. Serving primarily as a VR platform, the framework enables developers to create immersive experiences via HTML coding. Its web-based AR capabilities were previously applied in the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Blu-Ray promotional experience from 8th Wall.

With AR Quick Look in ARKit and Scene Viewer in ARCore, along with the 8th Wall Web platform, web-based AR has evolved quickly over the past year and a half.

The simplicity and openness of A-Frame's platform could accelerate the growth of web-based AR experiences in the wild.

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Cover image via Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

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