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28 November 2017, 01:21 | Jenny Fowler
Amazon introduces new solution for building AR, VR and 3D applications
As more developers look to support AR and VR, and platform owners continue to expand what devices can do, Sumerian could help make Amazon Web Services a key home for developing the applications of the future.
According to a recent report from TechCrunch, Amazon has announced a new service called Sumerian that the company touts as the "fastest and easiest way to create VR, AR and 3D experiences". 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. That engine is widely used among AR and VR developers, and providing a bridge between Unity and Sumerian could help attract developers. Note that you will need an AWS Account Number to apply.
AWS is aiming Sumerian at businesses across a range of industries for applications including training simulations, virtual concierge services, enhanced ecommerce experiences, and virtual real-estate tours.
A web-based editor for constructing 3D scenes, importing assets, scripting interactions and special effects, with cross-platform publishing. The visual scripting tools draw on AWS services such as Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly, which provide automatic speech recognition, natural language understanding and text-to-speech capabilities so these virtual characters can interact with human users. Sumerian includes an object library of pre-built assets and templates, but users can also upload their own 3D assets to use as well.
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Sumerian lets developers build applications without requiring any specialised programming or 3D graphics expertise, and can be accessed from a web browser. "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 of technology for AWS.
Sumerian also leverages mapping services from Mapbox Inc.
The announcement blog post highlights the biggest benefit of this service: The fact that it's so readily available: You can check out the preview version of the service now on any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics rendering. "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".
Access to Sumerian is via the AWS Management Console - there is no software to install or upfront costs as Sumerian uses Amazon's normal "pay for what you use" billing.
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