Published: Tue, November 28, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Cory Rios

Easily Build VR/AR Applications With Amazon Sumerian

Easily Build VR/AR Applications With Amazon Sumerian

Amazon is jumping onto the augmented and virtual reality bandwagon with the launch of Sumerian, a new application that's supposed to make it easier for people to develop 3D experiences for a wide variety of platforms.

Once users have built an experience in Sumerian, it can run on hardware such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and iPhone. In any case, users of the toolkit can create animated characters that interact with the player or customer verbally. The Amazon.com Inc. unit announced Sumerian during an unusual "Midnight Madness" event Monday for select attendees on the eve of its annual weeklong re:Invent conference in Las Vegas.

In its description of the "immersive VR, AR and 3D environments", Amazon says the Sumerian editing tool will enable developers to "drag and drop 3D objects (e.g. furniture ...) into "scenes" (e.g. rooms, office environments and landscapes)".

Amazon Sumerian will let any developer create "a realistic, interactive VR or AP application" in just a few hours, according to Marco Argenti, VP of technology at AWS.

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

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced a web-based tool for the creation of virtual or augmented reality experiences, building on the company's widely used web hosting infrastructure and artificial intelligence tools similar to those that power Amazon's popular Alexa products. Developers can use services like Sumerian to create training programs for employees who need to work with specialized equipment, the post said, or to help field service workers and retail professionals get a better sense of their environment. Users can import their own 3D images of objects or "choose from Amazon Sumerian's library of pre-built objects, (or) download and import objects from third-party asset repositories". Developers can also use the platform to create their own objects and scenes. As more developers look to support AR and VR, and platform owners continue to expand what devices can do, Sumerian could help make AWS a key home for developing the applications of the future.

It requires no software install or upfront costs - with developers only paying for the storage used for 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated to access scenes - and can be accessed via the AWS management console.

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