XR Developer News - June 2024

XR Developer News - June 2024
Logitech MX Ink

After mid-June's special edition on WWDC, it's time for another regular monthly roundup of XR developer news. But with Augmented World Expo last week, if definitely wasn't quiet.

Throughout this edition you'll find several references to the most interesting AWE presentations on the main stage. I expect that in a few weeks all the track videos will also be published, which should contain several more gems.


After last week's WWDC onslaught, let's start with Meta, because there's plenty happening there.

  • At AWE Meta announced the Lifestyle App Accelerator (terms, FAQ, submission) program to stimulate the creation of apps in categories such as cooking, reading, arts & craft, etc. Selected teams retain all IP ownership of their products, which seems like a very interesting proposition. The program will run for 6 months starting at the end of the year, so if you have an interesting pitch, send it in!

Meta's main stage presentation at AWE 2024

  • Meta Connect will be on September 25th and 26th this year, undoubtedly full of interesting announcements.
  • Meta Quest OS v66 (release notes, SDKs) was released with as most significant feature a massive reduction in passthrough warping around hands. Great to see this being added through another OS update, continuing Meta's tradition of significant post-launch improvements to the Quest line.
  • In less happy news, Andrew Bosworth announced that Augments, which were announced at Meta Connect last year, have been delayed. The first internal version apparently wasn't good enough, so they've gone back to the drawing board for a full rebuild.
  • Happier news on the Meta Horizon Worlds side of things, which is finally rolling out internationally to all countries where Meta Quest is being sold.
  • The winners of Meta's Presence Platform Hackathon were announced. Check them out for some interesting inspiration.
  • The Spark side of Meta shared another tutorial video on a Meta Spark Studio template and released beta versions 185 and 186.


As expected, the Apple visionOS and Vision Pro news this month was dominated by WWDC. If you're curious about visionOS 2 at WWDC, check out the WWDC special edition of XR Developer News from mid-June with details on all the visionOS sessions!

XR Developer News - WWDC 2024
Apple’s WWDC contained a ton of visionOS 2 updates for XR developers, spread across no less than 29 separate prerecorded sessions which became available throughout the week. I’ve gone through all of them to sort out the most interest news and figure out which ones are worth watching. In this
  • Although Unity wasn't part of the WWDC sessions, it of course announced that it's adding support for visionOS 2 to its toolset.
  • Epic of course wasn't present at WWDC either, but I found it extremely interesting to hear that the recent 'What If...? An Immersive Story' was apparently built in a custom version of Unreal Engine, making it the first example I know of.
  • In another first, Ryan Pickren found a security vulnerability in Safari on visionOS, allowing spawning of countless 3d objects to fill a room with bats or spiders. Really nice find! As XR platforms grow, get a bigger audience and attract more scrutiny, I have no doubt we'll see more of this type of XR security news, just like with any other digital platform.
World’s First Spatial Computing Hack | Ryan Pickren
The world’s first Spatial Computing hack (CVE-2024-27812). Apple Vision Pro vulnerability fills victim’s room full of spiders and bats.
  • At AWE Unity sponsored a Vision Workshop, of which a few of the presentation recordings have been shared. The most interesting ones I think were:
    • Spatial Computing & the Apple Ecosystem by Bert Nepveu, with a nice general intro to visionOS & Vision Pro. He's quite a interesting figure who spent several years at Apple working on it, after his company Vrvana was acquired, and he's uncharacteristically open about it, which definitely isn't typical for Apple.
    • visionOS Updates by Andy Roth, an even more in depth compilation of all the visionOS 2 news at WWDC than my blog. Truly impressive and a great resource.
AWE Vision Workshop
Full day pre-conference workshop will provide an overview of the Apple Vision Pro for developers, designers, and product managers.
  • If you're into shaders, check out this Shader Vision prototype for editing shaders while in the Vision Pro. Looks neat!

XR hardware

  • Logitech announced the MX Ink Mixed Reality Stylus for Meta Quest will be available from September. It basically acts as a third controller connected to your Quest, intended for high precision interactions like drawing in apps like Gravity Sketch and ShapesXR. Definitely check out the video to see some of the interesting use cases it might enable (and some hands-on impressions).

    Full developer documentation is available on github. Interesting is that Logitech is clearly aiming to have support for this type of accessories added to OpenXR, which should eventually make supporting the stylus on other XR headsets a lot easier.

    At $130 it's definitely not a cheap accessory, but for the target audience it might just be worth it and it's definitely a good sign of a healthy XR ecosystem that these kinds of accessories are starting to appear.
  • XREAL announced the international roll-out of the XREAL Beam Pro, which is intended to power its various 3DOF and 6DOF smart glasses and takes a sort of middle ground between a smartphone and a computing puck. Most commonly XReal's glasses are connected to smartphones, so it seems a sensible direction to offer their own dedicated XREAL companion device, so people don't have to worry about things like the battery of their phone being drained. The pricing is pretty decent with the cheapest model at $200, and the camera setup tailored to recording spatial video with a much wider camera distance than the recent iPhones is a nice addition as well. It obviously remains to be seen how well the device works as it ships in the next few months.
  • Google and Magic Leap announced a strategic partnership, although no details are available, so we'll have to wait and see what that means. Dilmer Valecillos posted another interesting Magic Leap video about spatial anchors.
  • Microsoft keeps cutting its mixed reality teams further and further.
  • And speaking of XR hardware which is facing headwinds, Sony officially announced the adapter it will be selling to allow PS VR2 to be used with a PC, in the hopes of selling some of the apparently many unsold PS VR2 units. Note though that many of PS VR2's interesting features won't work through the adapter.
  • Pico is apparently moving development of XR apps for its platform completely to standard OpenXR, instead of a custom SDK.

XR software

  • ShapesXR released v2.0 of its very useful spatial design software. Check out the full details, which include the addition of a new web-based editor. The improvements to triggers and newly added support for sounds should make for a nice improvement to design demos as well. ShapesXR is pretty much a must-know tool when you're doing anything with spatial design, so try it out!
  • Niantic and 8th Wall had several announcements:
    • The big one was the launch in public beta of Niantic Studio, a combination of visual editor and game engine for building 8th Wall WebAR experiences, which looks like a major upgrade from the 8th Wall Cloud Editor it offered so far.
Introducing Niantic Studio: The Future of Web-Based XR and 3D Content Creation
Build immersive XR, 3D experiences, and casual web games with the public beta of our new visual editor and powerful web gaming engine—now available for free.
    • 8th Wall's pricing model was slightly changed and now offers a free starter tier for experimentation, education, etc. Deploying it in commercial projects however is still as steeply priced as it was before.
    • You can request access to a private beta of the Unity ARDK (of which v3.6 (release notes) was recently released with some VPS mesh improvements) on Magic Leap 2, which sounds like potentially interesting to play with if it supports Lightship VPS.
    • There's an interesting short use case shown in one of the Niantic AWE sessions which is worth having a look at (go to 15:15), showing an interesting mix of combining VPS on site with visiting the scanned environment remotely.
    • Kent Bye did an interesting Voices of VR interview with the founder of 8th Wall which goes into much more depth.
    • 8th Wall v25 was released with a minor change.
#8th Wall Releases Web-Based Game Engine “Niantic Studio” to Render WebXR Experiences – Voices of VR Podcast
    • Meanwhile Snap keeps rolling out CameraKit to new platforms, like Skype.
  • Standards body the Khronos Group released the glTF Interactivity Specification for public comment. While that sounds boring, if it actually achieves what is intended for, it's actually pretty neat. One of the major pains of working on multiple XR systems, is that while there is at least some portability of assets across platforms, when it comes to logic, you're pretty much screwed and have to rebuild for every single platform. If this addition to glTF reduces that pain a bit, it's actually a really good quality of life improvement for anyone building XR.
glTF Interactivity Specification Released for Public Comment
Today, the Khronos 3D Formats Working Group is pleased to announce that the glTF 2.0 Interactivity Extension (KHR_interactivity) specification draft is available for public review and feedback before ratification. This new extension uses behavior graphs, enabling content creators to add logic and behaviors to glTF assets, with a focus on safety, portability and ease of implementation.
  • Unity held an interesting webinar about its templates for XRI and VR multiplayer and updated the XR Interaction Toolkit to v3.0.4.
  • At AWE, the CTO of Zappar held an interesting, pretty frank talk about the good, bad and ugly of WebXR. Nice one to check out. Dilmer Valecillos shared another good Zappar Mattercraft tutorial video.

Other XR tidbits

  • A few interesting podcasts to listen if you have the time:
    • Episode 27 of MetaRick with the CEO of Cognitive3D, which is a useful tool for analytics of XR games and apps.
#27: Tony Bevilacqua, Founder & CEO at Cognitive3D - MetaRick Podcast
Tony Bevilacqua is the Founder and CEO of Cognitive3D, a spatial analytics platform that gathers data from virtual and augmented reality experiences in new ways, and turns them into actionable insights. Specifically, Cognitive3D helps companies me…
    • Episode 28 of MetaRick with ManageXR, which is a useful tool for XR device management and app deployment, for instance in enterprise settings.
#28: Brooks, Head of Business Development at ManageXR - MetaRick Podcast
Since 2017, Brooks Filippin has been at the forefront of driving innovation in emerging technologies and enterprise solutions. Joining 3D Robotics, Brooks played a pivotal role in developing and implementing enterprise drone programs for the AEC i…
    • The AR Show interview with the CEO of Vuzix, which one of the companies which have been in the AR glasses space the longest.
Paul Travers (Vuzix) on Enhancing Real-World Engagement with Smartglasses — The AR Show
Paul returns to the show to discuss some breakthroughs in optics and display engines, which enable highly wearable smartglasses. We also discuss Vuzix’s new OEM strategy, where they are looking to partner and supply the major players in the space. Paul closes with advice for entrepreneurs.

Upcoming XR events

  • June 27-30, 2024 - XR Creator Con in Berlin, Germany.
  • July 29 - August 1, 2024 - SIGGRAPH, which is usually interesting with regards to the latest in computer vision research, also in the area of XR.
  • August 18-20, 2024 - XR Hack hackathon in Cologne.
  • August 26-28, 2024 - AWE Asia in Singapore.
  • September 6-8, 2024 - XR Hack hackathons in Istanbul and Stockholm.
  • Early September, 2024 - XR Hack hackathon in London.
  • September 17-19, 2024 - Snap Partner Summit and Lens Fest.
  • September 18-19, 2024 - Around Festival by Gravity Sketch.
  • September 18-20, 2024 - Unity Unite 2024 in Barcelona.
  • September 25-26, 2024 - Meta Connect.
  • October 29-30, 2024 - AWE EU in Vienna, Austria. Super early bird ticket rates end July 3rd. You can submit talks until August 6th.
  • December 4-6, 2024 - Immersive Tech Week in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, the big yearly XR conference in the Netherlands.

A bit about this newsletter

Each month I try to round up all the interesting developments in the XR developer landscape. New hardware and software releases, events, interesting tooling, etc. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, for instance if I missed anything which definitely should be in this monthly round up next time.

Hope it is useful!