A new VR and AR standard would set the bar for rewriting reality

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The IEEE Standards Association is working on a series of standards for virtual and augmented reality. It announced the news ahead of this year’s Augmented World Expo, listing eight initial areas to work on. A working group will establish definitions and categories of VR and AR devices, as well as standards for video quality, user interfaces, and file formats.

The VRAR Working Group is just getting started. But the IEEE, an association of technical professionals, has a long history of establishing industry standards. In this case, it’s joining a few other groups that have sought to standardize VR and AR. Gaming company Razer and VR company Sensics established the open-source OSVR platform in 2015, promising broad compatibility between headsets and peripherals, and standards consortium Khronos has its own VR and AR working group.

Augmented reality headsets are mostly industrial or medical devices, and while virtual reality has gotten more consumer adoption, it’s still more established in areas like training simulations or university research. But these standards could affect how ordinary people use this tech in the future — one of them, for example, would establish how to verify someone’s identity in VR. Besides, we could always use a better taxonomy of the many confusing, overlapping forms of virtual and augmented reality.

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