Amazon Sumerian Helps Devs Create AI, VR And 3D Apps

Todd Singleton
November 28, 2017

Sumerian doesn't require any extensive 3D graphics expertise, and can be used by a broader group of professionals to create valuable experiences. This is not a simple 3D content creation tool like Microsoft's Paint 3D or Google's Poly, it is a whole suite of tools and services with which one can build multi-platform experiences that run on hardware like the Oculus, HTC Vive, and iOS devices using WebVR compatible browsers and Android devices using ARCore.

A web-based editor for constructing 3D scenes, importing assets, scripting interactions and special effects, with cross-platform publishing.

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.

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.

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Developers will also be given access to a set of "hosts", these are 3D characters that can customer to interact with a user.

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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)". You can request access to the preview with your AWS account number, but be warned: access is invite-only. That includes mobile devices, web browsers and head-mounted displays such as Facebook Inc.'s 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. That's thanks to Amazon's existing speech recognition and natural language-processing tech-Lex and Polly, respectively. "But, customers are daunted and overwhelmed by the up-front investment in specialised skills and tools required to even get started building a VR or AR application", said Marco Argenti, VP of technology at Amazon Web Services (AWS). "For instance, we integrated Mapbox's points of interest and global terrain maps with Amazon Sumerian so data is delivered and rendered in real-time". As with other AWS offerings, customers are charged based on the amount of storage used for the 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated by their apps.

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