OpenXR and XRI Updates - HandTracking and more!

Published on

March 24, 2023

Blog Collection


OpenXR and XRI Updates - HandTracking and more!

Creating VR Apps Just Got Easier: OpenXR to replace Headset-Specific Tools!

Exciting news from the VR world, but first we will give you a brief introduction on why Unity's and OpenXR’s new updates are a huge breakthrough for the industry.


Let’s start with definitions, Open XR is a cross-platform standard for XR development that aims to simplify the creation of XR applications and reduce fragmentation in the industry. With OpenXR, developers can create XR applications that work seamlessly across all major devices and platforms, without needing to write custom code for each one.

Now for the XR Interaction Toolkit, or XRI. It is a package within Unity's XR development platform that provides a set of tools and components to help developers create immersive and interactive XR experiences. The XRI package includes features such as interactor components, which allow for object interaction within virtual environments, and an input system for handling user input from different types of devices.

As for the XRI update…

Unity released an update to its XR Interaction Toolkit (XRI) that includes several new features that leverage OpenXR, making it even easier for developers to create immersive and intuitive VR experiences. 

Let's take a closer look at some of the benefits of the new XRI update for VR developers:

  • Poke Interactor - allows for basic poking functionality for hands and controllers.
  • Gaze Interactor & Interaction Assistance - allows for interaction via eye or head gaze, with a new Snap Volume component that enables easy object selection.
  • Interaction Groups - groups interactors together, allowing only one to interact at a time.
  • Interaction Affordance System - enables developers to define specific types of interaction feedback for interactables, such as visual changes, audio clips, or haptic pulses.

Why is OpenXR relevant, then?

Along with the XRI 2.3 update, Unity released XR Hands. A non-proprietary solution based on Open XR that will allow the implementation of Hand Tracking for any headset that supports hand tracking.

The XR Hands package, currently in preview, offers a more streamlined way for developers to implement hand tracking on Quest and HoloLens without the need for headset-specific SDKs. It supports hand tracking via Unity's standard XR subsystem and OpenXR, making it compatible with other standard systems like the XR Interaction Toolkit. 

Would you like to try it out?
Head to Eric Provencher’s Github and download a nice sample scene where you will be able to test the new possibilities that come with Open XR HandTracking Implementation and the updates made to XRI

XR Hands in VR Builder Demo Scene
XR Hands in VR Builder Demo Scene