Published: Tue, November 28, 2017
Industry | By Faith Ward

Easily Build VR/AR Applications With Amazon Sumerian

Easily Build VR/AR Applications With Amazon Sumerian

"With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours".

The resulting applications can run on Oculus and HTC Vive devices as well as iOS devices with WebVR-compatible browsers.

Amazon writes, "Amazon Sumerian solves these challenges by providing a web-based editor that developers can use to easily and quickly create professional-quality scenes, and a visual scripting tool to build the logic that controls how the objects and characters in the scenes behave and respond to actions".

Amazon announced a new service at the AWS re:Invent Midnight Madness event.

On top of this, developers get access to a set of "hosts" - 3D characters that they can customize to interact with an end user.

Amazon Sumerian's editor lets developers drag and drop 3D characters and objects (like furniture or buildings) into "scenes" (e.g. rooms, office environments, and landscapes).

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AWS has launched a platform for developers to build AR, VR and 3D apps at speed.

In the enterprise, AR and VR are poised to make a big impact.

The new tool looks like it could be aiming to lure away developers from software like Unreal Engine and Unity which are used to make the majority of VR and AR apps now available. Note that you will need an AWS Account Number to apply. That includes mobile devices, web browsers and head-mounted displays such as Facebook Inc.'s Oculus Rift. The suite includes a library of prebuilt objects and templates with pre-populated scenes; users can also download and import objects from third-party asset repositories such as Sketchfab or Turbosquid or create and import their own objects.

In a press release, Marco Argenti, Vice President, Technology, AWS said, "Customers across industries see the potential of VR and AR technologies for a wide range of uses-from educating and training employees to creating new customer experiences". 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. These hosts integrate with Amazon Polly and Lex to provide natural language capabilities similar to those underpinning the Alexa virtual 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.

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