True virtuality: connecting real things to virtuelle realität using web technologies

This is the story of our fortunate encounter at FOSDEM , the largest free plus open source software event within Europe. We are two developers, centered on different domains, who saw a chance to continue our technical conversation because they build a proof of concept. Fabien Benetou is a developer centered on virtual reality and augmented reality. Phillipe Coval works on the web of Things. Creating a prototype provided the two of us a way to explore some ideas we’ d shared at the conference.

WebXR meets the internet of Things

Nowadays we’ ll report on the proof-of-concept we built in half a day, right after our lucky meeting-of-minds at FOSDEM. Our prototype applies 3D visualisation to power an IoT user interface. It demonstrates how open, available web technologies make it possible to combine software program from different domains to create participating new interactive experiences.

Our proof of concept, illustrated within the video below, shows how a messfühler connected to the Internet brings data in the real world to the virtual world. The sunshine sensor reads colors from cardboard boxes cards and changes the color associated with entities in virtual reality.

The second demo shows how activities in the virtual world can affect real life. In this next video, we switch on LEDs with colors that match their particular virtual reality counterparts.

We’ ll show you  how to do a similar experiment your self:

  • Develop a demo that goes from IoT to WoT , showing the cost of connecting things to the web.
  • Connect your first thing and bring it online.
  • Make a connection between your Web of Things and WebXR . Once your thing is certainly connected, you’ ll be able to screen it, and connect to it in VR and AR.

Here’ s a bit more of the context: Fabien Benetou organized from the JavaScript devroom track at FOSDEM, and presented High end augmented actuality using JavaScript . Philippe Coval from the Samsung OpenSource group joined their colleague Ziran Sun to present Bring JavaScript to the Web of Things on a single track.

Philippe shown a remote “ SmartHome in a Box”, using a live webcam stream. It had been a demo he’ d distributed the day before in the Mozilla devroom, in a joint presentation with Mozilla Tech Speaker Dipesh Monga .

The demo showed relationships of different kinds of sensors, including a web-based sensor from the OpenSenseMap project, a community website that allows contributors upload real-time sensor information.

The Followup in order to FOSDEM

In Rennes, a city in Brittany, within the northwest of France, the Ambassad’ Air project does community air-quality tracking using luftdaten software on super cheap microcontrollers. Fabien had already made programs to visit Rennes the following week (to breathe fresh air and enjoy local cooked delicacies like the delightful kouign amann ).

And we decided to meet again in Rennes , and involve the local neighborhood. We proposed a public class bridging “ Web of Things” and “ XR” using GET FLOSSING. Big thanks to Gulliver , the neighborhood GNU/Linux Group, who offered to web host our last minute hacking session . Thanks also to the participants within Rennes for their curiosity and their particular valuable input.

Within the sections ahead we offer an overview from the different concepts that came collectively in our project.

Through IoT to the Web of Matters

The idea of the Internet associated with Things existed before it obtained its name. Some fundamental IoT concepts  have a lot in common considering web works today. As the title suggests, the web of things provides an efficient way to connect any bodily object to the world wide web.

Let’ s start with a light bulb 💡. Usually, we use an actual switch to turn the bulb upon or off. Now imagine in case your light bulb 💡 could have its own webpage.

If your light bulb or some kind of smart device is web helpful, it would be reachable by an URL such as https://mylamp.example.local . The sunshine bulb vendor could implement an online server in the device, and a desired page for the user. The manufacturer can provide another endpoint for a machine-readable status that would indicate “ ON” or “ OFF”. Even better, that will endpoint could be read using an HTTP GET query or even set using an HTTP POST operation with ON or even OFF.

All this is actually an API to manage a boolean, making it possible to use the mobile browser as being a remote control for the light bulb.

Although this model works, it’ s not the best way to go. The standardized API should respect SLEEP principles and make use of common semantics to describe Details (TD) . The W3C is definitely pushing for standardization — an easy interoperable web language that can be applied by any project, such as Mozilla’ s Project Things .

Newcomers can start with a digital adapter and play with simulated issues. These things appear on the dashboard yet do not exist in reality. Actuators or even sensors can be implemented using internet thing libraries for any language. Helpful hint: it’ s much simpler to rehearse on a simulator before working with actual hardware and digging into equipment datasheets.

For inquisitive readers, check out the IoT. js program code in Philippe’ s webthings-iotjs tutorial on GitHub, plus explore color sensor code that’ s been published to NPM as color-sensor-js .

Connect your first thing

How do you make a web-friendly smart house? You can start by setting up a basic nearby IoT network. Here’ s exactly how:

  1. You’ lmost all need a computer with a network user interface to use as a gateway.
  2. Add devices to your network plus define a protocol to connect these to the central gateway.
  3. Build an user interface to let the consumer control all connected devices from your gateway.
  4. Later you are able to develop custom web apps that may also connect to the gateway.

To avoid reinventing the particular wheel, look at existing free software program. That’ s where Mozilla’ t Things Gateway comes in. You won’ t need network engineering or even electronics expertise to get started.

You can rely on a low-cost plus low-power consumption single board pc, for instance the Raspberry Pi, to set up the operating system image provided by Mozilla . Then you can create virtual things such as light bulbs, or connect real equipment like sensors on to the gateway itself. You’ lmost all be able to control your device(s) from the net through the tunneling service provided by the particular “ things cloud”. Your data is definitely reachable at a custom domain, remains on your local network, and is certainly not sent to a 3rd party in the cloud.

In order to make the process efficient as well as safe, the gateway takes care of authentication by generating a token. The particular gateway can also generate direct program code snippets in several languages (including JavaScript) that can be used for other applications :

You are able to build on top of existing program code that should just work when you copy/paste it into your application. Developers may focus on exploring novel applications plus use cases for the technology.

For your next step, we suggest testing the simplest example: list everything connected to your gateway. In our instance, we use a light bulb 💡, some thing composed of several properties. Make sure that the particular thing displayed on the gateway web user interface matches the real world thing. Use the browser’ s console with the provided program code snippets to check that the behavior fits the device.

Get to know your own Things Gateway

As soon as this is running, the fun starts. Since you can access the entrance with code, you can:

  • List all things, including the schema, to understand their capabilities (properties, beliefs, available actions).
  • Go through a property value (e. g. the existing temperature of a sensor).
  • Change a property  (e. gary the gadget guy. control the actuator or arranged the light bulb color).
  • Get the coordinates of a thing on a SECOND floor plan.
  • And many more!

Using a snuggle command, you can issue the whole tree to identify all things authorized by the gateway:

token=” B4DC0DE... "

-H "Authorization: Bearer $token" 
-H 'Accept: application/json' 
| jq -M. 

The result is a JSON structure of all of the things. Each thing has a various endpoint like:

"name": "ColorSensor",
"properties": { "color": {
"type": "string",
"@type": "ColorProperty", "readOnly": true, "links": [ {...
"href": "/things/http---localhost-58888-/properties/color"

User {products|gadgets} are private and not exposed to the internet, so no one else can {entry|accessibility|gain access to} or control your light bulb. Here is a quick look at the REST architecture which makes this possible:

Static glide with code describing the Relaxing architecture of the gateway

From WoT to WebXR

Presenting A-Frame for WebVR

Once we were able to programmatically get {house|home|real estate|property or home|residence} values using a single HTTP OBTAIN request, we could use those {ideals|beliefs} to update the visual picture, e. g. changing the angles or color of a cube. This really is made easier with a framework like A-Frame , which lets you describe {easy|basic} 3D scenes using HTML.

For example , to define that will cube in A-Frame, we {make use of the|utilize the} < a-box> < /a-box> label. Then we change its colour by adding the color attribute.

 < a-box color="#00ff00"> 

a screenshot from A-Frame showing pink parallelogram, green cube, and yellow cylinder

The beauty behind the declarative program code is that these 3D objects, or even entities, are described clearly, however their shape and behavior could be extended easily with components. A-Frame has an active community of {members|contributing factors}. The libraries are open {resource|supply}, and built on top of three. js , one of the most popular 3D frameworks on the web. Consequently, scenes that start with simple shapes can develop into {gorgeous|stunning|lovely|wonderful|attractive}, complex scenes.

This particular flexibility allows developers to work {in the|on the} level of the stack where {these people|they will} feel comfortable, from HTML to {composing|creating} components in JavaScript, to {composing|creating} complex 3D shaders . Simply by staying within the boundaries of the primary of A-Frame you might never have to write JavaScript. If you want to write JavaScript, documentation is available to do things like manipulating the underlying three. js object .

A-Frame itself {will be|is usually|is definitely|can be|is certainly} framework agnostic. If you are a Respond developer, you can rely on React. Choose Vue. js? Not a problem. Vanilla CODE & JS is your thing? All of these work. Want to use VR within data visualisation? You can let D 3 handle the data bindings.

Using a framework such as A-Frame which targets WebXR implies that your < a-box> will work upon all VR and AR {products|gadgets} which have access to a browser that will supports WebXR, from the smartphone in your wallet to high-end VR and expert AR headsets.

{Linking|Hooking up} the Web of Things to Virtual Reality

In our next step we change  the color value on the 3D item to the thing’ s actual worth, derived from its physical color messfühler. Voila! This connects the real world towards the virtual. Here’ s the A-Frame component we wrote that can be {put on|placed on|used on} any A-Frame entity.

  var token sama dengan 'Bearer SOME_CODE_FOR_AUTH'

// The {symbol|expression} is used to manage access, granted simply to selected users

var baseURL sama dengan ''
var debug = fake // used to display content within the console

AFRAME. registerComponent('iot-periodic-read-values', {

// Registering an A-Frame component {later on|afterwards} used in VR/AR entities
init: {functionality|perform} () {
this. tick sama dengan AFRAME. utils. throttleTick(this. tick, five hundred, this);

// check for new worth every 500ms
tick: function(t, dt){
fetch(baseURL + 'things/http---localhost-58888-/properties/color', in front
headers: {
Accept: 'application/json',
Consent: token
}). then(res => {
return res. json();
}). then(property => {
this. este. setAttribute("color", property. color);

// the particular request went through
// update the colour of the VR/AR entity
is parked ,

The short video over shows real world color cards leading to colors to change in the virtual screen. Here’ s a brief description associated with what we’ re doing within the code.

  1. {All of us|We all} generate a security token (JWT) {to get|to achieve} access to our Things Gateway.
  2. Next we register an element that can be used in A-Frame in VR or AR to change the screen of a 3D entity.
  3. Then we fetch the property associated with a Thing and display it {around the|within the|for the|in the|over the|to the|at the} current entity.

In the same way we can get information {having an|by having an|with the} HTTP GET request, we can {deliver|send out} a command with an HTTP PLACE request. We use A-Frame’ {h|t|s i9000|ersus} < a-cursor> to allow for interaction within VR. Once we look at an {organization|enterprise}, such as another cube, the cursor can then send an event. When that will event is captured, {a control|an order|a command word} is issued to the Things Entrance. In our example, when we aim in a green sphere (or “ look” with our eyes through the VR headset), we toggle the green {DIRECTED|BROUGHT}, red sphere (red LED) plus blue sphere (blue LED).

Going through Virtual Reality to Augmented Reality

The objective of our demo {has been|had been} two-fold: to bring real world data {right into a|in to a} virtual world, and to act {around the|within the|for the|in the|over the|to the|at the} real world from the virtual world. I was able to display live sensor information such as temperature and light strength in VR. In addition , were able to {change|switch|convert} LEDs on and off from the VR atmosphere. This validates our proof of idea.

Sadly, the day ended, and we ran out of time to try {our own|the} proof of concept in augmented {fact|actuality|truth} (AR) with a Magic Leap device. Fortunately, the end during didn’ t end our task. Fabien was able to tunnel to Philippe’ s demo gateway, registered {underneath the|beneath the} mozilla-iot. org subdomain and access it as though it were on a local system, using Mozilla’ s remote {entry|accessibility|gain access to} feature.

The task was a success! We connected real life to AR as well as to VR.

The augmented reality execution proved easy. Aside from removing < a-sky> ; therefore it wouldn’ t cover our industry of view, we didn’ {to|capital t|big t} have to change our code. {All of us|We all} opened our existing web page {around the|within the|for the|in the|over the|to the|at the} MagicLeap ML1 because of exokit , a new open-source internet browser specifically targeting spatial devices (as presented during Fabien’ s FOSDEM talk). It just worked!

As you can see in the video, {all of us|we all} briefly reproduced the gateway’ {h|t|s i9000|ersus} web interface. We have a few {suggestions|concepts|tips} for next steps.   By causing those spheres interactive we could {trigger|stimulate|switch on|initialize|power up|start|induce} each thing or get more {details about|information regarding} them. Imagine using the gateway floorplan to match the spatial information of the thing to the physical layout of the flat. There are A-Frame components which make it straightforward to generate simplified  building components like walls and doors.

You don’ t need a Magic Leap gadget to explore AR with the Web associated with Things. A smartphone running Mozilla XR Viewer with an iPhone or an Android using the fresh build of Chromium will work with traditional RGB digital cameras.

From the Virtual towards the Immersive Web

The particular transition from VR/AR to XR takes two steps. The first step {may be the|will be the|could be the} technical aspect, which is where {depending on|counting on} A-Frame comes in. Although the specifications {with regard to|regarding|intended for|to get|pertaining to|meant for|designed for|just for} VR and AR on the web continue to be works in progress by the W3C’ {h|t|s i9000|ersus} “Immersive Web” standardization process , we can target XR devices {nowadays|these days}.

By using a high-level {platform|construction}, we can begin development even though the specification is still in progress, because the spec features a polyfill maintained by browser suppliers and the community at large. The guarantee of having one code base {for all those|for those|for many|for everyone|for any} VR and AR headsets is among the most exciting aspects of WebXR. Making use of A-Frame, we are able to start today and become ready for tomorrow.

The 2nd step involves you, as {readers|viewer|audience} and user. What would you like to {observe|notice|discover|find}? Do you have ideas of use cases that creates interactive spatial content for VR and AR?

{Summary|Bottom line}

The hack program in Rennes was fascinating. I was able to get live data {from your|through the|in the} real world and interact with it {very easily|quickly|effortlessly|simply} in the virtual world. This starts the door to many possibilities: from our simplified prototype to artistic projects that will challenge our perception of {fact|actuality|truth}. We also foresee pragmatic make use of cases, for instance in hospitals plus laboratories filled with sensors and contemporary instrumentation (IIoT or Industrial IoT).

This workshop as well as the resulting videos and code are basic starting points. If you start focus on a similar project, please do get in contact ( @utopiah and @rzr@social. samsunginter. net {or|and} @RzrFreeFr ). We’ll help however we can!

There’s also work in progress on the webapp to A-Frame . Would like to get involved in testing or reviewing program code? You’re invited to help with the design or recommend some ideas of your own .

What Things are you going to bring to the virtual world? {All of us|We all} can’t wait to hear from you.


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