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Building the WebVR UI of the future

Build-UI-with-WebVR

by Bilyana Vacheva

We at Coherent Labs are passionate to empower front-end developers to create immersive experiences by using web technologies. Our team is developing the first web browser designed specifically for Virtual and Augmented Reality. LensVR is a result of many years of experience in developing browsers for high-performance applications, working with game engines, and designing game UI and UX.

We recognize the power of WebVR as a technology that liberates the creation process and empowers web developers to build immersive VR experiences without the need to learn new tools. Our goal is to help more front-end developers and UX designers learn to use this powerful technology. An incubator, where we can share our experience with like-minded people, brainstorm ideas, and learn from each other, seemed to be a great way to do so. That is why in the beginning of the summer we opened the doors of our HQ for six ambitious teams (one of which is joining the program remotely). They work in a shared space equipped with the latest VR headsets and technologies. We are providing them with training and mentorship and connecting them with advisers and investors. This is the first in a series of blog posts in which we will introduce each of the teams, their ideas, and progress.

Centroida team, consisting of Hristo Georgiev, Gavril Tonev and Teodor Savov, is exploring the best ways to create UI and interactions in VR. Their goal is to provide an easy way for developers to build UI with WebVR.

“We are developing the WebVR UI of the future.”

WebVR Incubator Centroida Team

Left to Right: Teodor Savov, Hristo Georgiev, Gavril Tonev

 

The idea for CentroUI has been around for a long time but the team did not have the necessary Unity/Unreal Engine experience to start working on it. The rise of WebVR enabled them to use their web knowledge to create VR app. They were familiar with React so the transition to growingly accessible WebVR came quite naturally.

“ReactVR gives us the right tools to create layouts, utilities, and themes that will be widely used across the growing WebVR dev community. Thus, we can leverage the full potential of WebGL and WebVR to create intuitive UI controls with a high level of fidelity.”

The team was happy to share more details about their background, project, and vision for WebVR:

What is your background?

Hristo: My background is in software development, more specifically web development. I have been doing this since I was a teenager, and currently, my operational role in the company is to manage most of the front-end development and UI development of our projects.

Gavril: I am a mobile developer and I have been working on the iOS and Android platforms over the last couple of years. However, I specialize in Augmented Reality and I have created a couple of AR apps. As a matter of fact, a couple of years ago, I won the Microsoft Imagine Cup with an Augmented Reality game. This fits very well into the idea behind CentroUI because it used a lot of components that I think can be replicated and expanded on in this project.

Gavril Tonev testing CentroUI

Gavril Tonev testing CentroUI

How did you decide to develop for VR?

Teodor: As time progresses, the number of people realizing that VR has a place not only in the gaming industry but also in industries such as architecture, real estate, business applications etc. is growing. WebVR gives an easy way for web developers to create such experiences. That is why I believe that WebVR will be, if not the next big thing, then for sure, a significant part of the web in the future.

Gavril: Initially, I was very excited about Augmented Reality and the opportunity that it gave us. I started developing for VR because it allowed me to use the technology to help people learn to code. It is very easy to attract people’s attention when you are using such a platform.

What do you think about WebVR?

Hristo: I think WebVR is pretty much what web was back in the day. It was a platform technology that united the whole community. This makes WebVR super approachable and very easy to use. I think WebVR is going to be the platform with the biggest community when it comes to VR.

How do you think the technology will develop in the future?

Teodor: I think it will change significantly. Over the course of, perhaps, 5-10 years a lot of people will become interested in the technology which will result in growing investments and drastic changes and improvements.

Gavril:  I believe that WebVR stands out mainly because of its ease of use. We all should aim for WebVR because it has a promising future.

Define WebVR in one word:

Hristo: Future.

Teodor: Cool.

Gavril: Exciting.

Centroida team testing CentroUI with HTC Vive

Centroida team testing CentroUI with Oculus Rift

Tell us more about your current project with WebVR.

Hristo: We want CentroUI to decrease the time and cost for developing UI for WebVR applications at least tenfold. We want to create a product that has UI controls and a lot of things already built-in, so developers don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they start a new WebVR project.

What do you want to achieve by the end of the WebVR Incubator?

Hristo: With the current state of the community, I think our idea will attract a lot of interest. We hope to get a lot of feature requests from the developer community. We plan to create an open-source library and later on, a business enterprise service in a product.

How about in ten years time?

Hristo: In ten years, I see pretty much every WebVR application or website having either the latest or some kind of a customized version of CentroUI.

What was your incentive to join the WebVR Incubator?

Hristo: The resources and the knowledge that the Incubator provides give us a great opportunity to speed up the process of developing and prototyping the product. It is going to help us avoid some mistakes that we would otherwise make if we did not have the support of Coherent Labs and the Incubator.

Try out CentroUI, follow Centroida on Twitter!

Author: Gabriela G, Twitter

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