Amazon Sumerian Is A Web-Based VR Programming Tool For AWS

Amazon Web Services pop-up loft in San Francisco

Adam Jeffery | CNBC Amazon Web Services pop-up loft in San Francisco

Sumerian, a new service from Amazon Web Services (AWS), could make it easier for developers to build augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D applications, the company announced in a Monday blog post.

Sumerian doesn't require any extensive 3D graphics expertise, and can be used by a broader group of professionals to create valuable experiences.

Once a developer has created a 3D scene, they can publish and run it on a number of platforms - including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and iOS.

Amazon launched the project at midnight on Sunday at the launch of the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, which continues through this week.

It's created to eliminate the need for specialized tools for tasks like 3D modeling, environmental design, animation, lighting effects, and audio editing, as well as the additional step of adapting AR and VR applications for different hardware platforms.

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.

Amazon Web Services doesn't charge a fee for designing and editing AR and VR applications.

Other features include: ability to design immersive VR, AR and 3D environments; ability to create animated characters powered by AWS AI services; and the ability to deploy apps to popular VR and AR hardware. You'll just need to pay for the storage space your creations take up. If you find what you're looking for, you can view it in 3D and download it to use in your app. Amazon Sumerian also includes templates with pre-populated scenes. "But, customers are 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 Marco Argenti, Vice President, Technology, AWS in a statement.

The Amazon Sumerian also assists with mapping services from Mapbox.

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.

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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