Amazon Launches Sumerian Tool For Building Immersive AR, VR And 3D Apps

Keith Wymbs AWS Elemental CMO

Amazon's highly anticipated mixed-reality building service has officially been announced: Amazon Sumerian will allow enterprising entrepreneurs everywhere the ability to quickly build and host VR, AR or 3D apps online. Amazon plans to make its tools compatible with Google's (goog) AR software tools for Android-powered devices soon, but it didn't say when. You can request access to the preview with your AWS account number, but be warned: access is invite-only. 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. The Sumerian service includes an object library with 3D models along with assistance for importing assets from FBX and OBJ files. Amazon Sumerian would help developers synchronize the application in the popular VR and AR hardware, create animated characters and design the interactive AR and VR environments.

Amazon Sumerian uses a web-based editor that developers can use to create "professional-quality scenes", and a visual scripting tool to build the logic that controls how the objects and characters in the scenes interact and respond to actions.

However, customers are afraid of the up-front investment and specialized tools needed to craft useful VR or AR apps.

"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, vice president of business development at Mapbox.

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Sumerian also leverages mapping services from Mapbox Inc.

Sumerian is free to use, but it's built on AWS; that means you need an existing AWS account and you'll be charged for services related to that platform if you use more than is allotted to a free account.

Amazon says that there is no cost associated with the software and that customers must only pay for the storage used for their 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated by the content they create.

The Sumerian tools are integrated with Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly, which provide automatic speech recognition, natural-language processing, and text-to-speech capabilities.

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