News, Software

AWS launches VR, 3D developer platform Sumerian

Sumerian was launched at Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent conference in Las Vegas

Amazon Web Services has announced the launch of its Sumerian service, which aims to help developers build virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 3D applications, and run them on mobile devices, head-mounted displays, digital signage, or web browsers.

With Amazon Sumerian’s editor, developers can build “realistic” virtual environments, populate them with 3D objects and animated characters, and script how they interact with each other and the application’s users.

VR and AR apps created in Sumerian will run in any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics rendering, including Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and iOS mobile devices.

There is no software to install or upfront costs – customers pay only for the storage used for 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated to access the virtual scenes they create.

Sumerian provides 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.

It also leverages the use of AWS services such as Lex, Polly, Lambda, IoT, and Amazon DynamoDB.

“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,” said Marco Argenti, vice president, technology, AWS. “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. With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours.”

Sumerian’s editor allows developers to drag and drop 3D objects such as furniture, buildings, and natural objects and characters into “scenes” such as rooms, office environments, and landscapes.

Developers can choose from Sumerian’s library of pre-built objects, download and import objects from third-party asset repositories such as Sketchfab or Turbosquid, or create and import their own objects. Sumerian also includes templates with pre-populated scenes.

Developers can also use Sumerian to create animated 3D characters that can guide users through a scene by narrating scripts or answering questions.

Lex and Polly provide automatic speech recognition, natural language understanding, and text-to-speech capabilities, so that Amazon Sumerian characters can understand and respond to users in “lifelike” conversations.

Amazon Web Services announced that it would launch its first GCC data centre in 2019.

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