Amazon’s new service Sumerian provides an easy way to create VR, AR, and 3D experiences

Amazon today revealed a new service called Sumerian that allows anyone to create and run augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D applications with ease. 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.

Amazon Sumerian includes a web-based editor that allows anyone to drag and drop 3D objects (e.g. furniture, and buildings) and characters into “scenes” (e.g. rooms, office environments, and landscapes). It also allows anyone to import objects from third-party asset repositories such as Sketchfab or Turbosquid, or create and import their own objects.

Amazon Sumerian features:

  • Editor: A web-based editor for constructing 3D scenes, importing assets, scripting interactions and special effects, with cross-platform publishing.
  • Object Library: a library of pre-built objects and templates.
  • Asset Import: Upload 3D assets to use in your scene. Sumerian supports importing FBX, OBJ, and coming soon Unity projects.
  • Scripting Library: provides a JavaScript scripting library via its 3D engine for advanced scripting capabilities.
  • Hosts: animated, lifelike 3D characters that can be customized for gender, voice, and language.
  • AWS Services Integration: baked in integration with Amazon Polly and Amazon Lex to add speech and natural language to into Sumerian hosts. Additionally, the scripting library can be used with AWS Lambda allowing use of the full range of AWS services.

Content created using Amazon Sumerian are hosted in the AWS cloud and served from a publicly accessible endpoint through a URL, so that users can access them from any supported client devices.

“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. 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. “With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours.”

Learn more about this service here. Honestly, I was expecting Microsoft to first announce such service for developers given their experience around 3D and Mixed Reality development. I’m now expecting Microsoft to announce something on this front at Build developer conference next year.

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