Amazon's Sumerian Is A Web-Based Development Service For VR/AR Apps

Kyle Walsh | CNBC
Kyle Walsh | CNBC

28 November, 2017

Amazon today revealed a new service called Sumerian that allows anyone to create and run augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D applications easily.

Amazon Sumerian, the post notes, "doesn't require you to have 3D graphics or programming experience to build rich, interactive VR and AR scenes", and "provides tools and resources that allows anyone to create and run augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D applications easily". Now in preview, Sumerian allows creation of VR and AR scenes that target platforms like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Google Daydream, and it works with several other Amazon products. Developers can choose from Amazon Sumerian's library of pre-built objects, download and import objects from third-party asset stores such as Sketchfab or Turbosquid, or create and import their own objects.

Immersive technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality could soon become much more commonplace thanks to the launch early Monday morning of a new development platform by Amazon Web Services Inc.

The way the elements interact with one another and users can be controlled using scipts and the applications can be linked to Amazon Polly and Amazon Lex, which provide speech and natural language support for hosts, allowing characters to respond to users in a lifelike way.

The public cloud computing giant took the wraps off its new Amazon Sumerian service, which provides a platform for developers to create realistic virtual environments that can be populated with animated characters and other 3D objects.

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However, Unity Labs EVP Sylvio Drouin told Ars previous year that the Unity Labs team has focused heavily on making its own way for creatives to build VR worlds without advanced technical knowledge.

An example of how publishers can use the new video tools unveiled by Amazon Web Services at re:Invent 2017. Hardware including the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and iOS devices support the content created with Sumerian.

Naturally, you can drag and drop assets directly into the scene.

Given previous requirements to launch AR or VR apps, businesses have been "daunted and overwhelmed by the up-front investment in specialized skills and tools required to even get started building a VR or AR application", said Argenti.

The Amazon Sumerian also assists with mapping services from Mapbox. Users incur costs only for cloud storage of their 3D assets and traffic generated by the scenes they create.

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