Amazon's Sumerian Tool Can Be Used To Develop AR And VR Experiences

Posted November 28, 2017

"We now bring Mapbox location services to Amazon Sumerian, enabling users to integrate 3D maps and surfaces into their AR and VR applications and bring location-based experiences to life", said Alex Barth, VP of Business Development, Mapbox.

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". Any browser supporting WebGL, Web VR or ARKit graphics renderings will run apps created with Sumerian. 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.

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.

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)".

AI support lets developers create animated 3D characters that can guide users through a scene by narrating scripts or answering questions.

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The move comes at a time when companies across a range of industries are showing huge interest in AR and VR technologies.

AWS Sumerian is a new service that allows developers to build AR, VR, and 3D apps for a variety of platform such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. You'll just need to pay for the storage space your creations take up.

Such applications typically run on mobile devices, in web browsers or specialised headsets such as the Facebook-produced Oculus Rift. Amazon has its own template of pre-populated scenes, but developers can also use their own objects or those from third-party repositories.

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 hosts will be integrated with Amazon Polly and Lex to deliver natural language abilities, not unlike those present on the Alexa personal assistant.

Sumerian, which is now in limited preview, is meant to be free to AWS users, with users paying only for storage for 3D assets and traffic to access applications.