×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Amazon Unveils Web-Based Tools for Creating VR and AR Apps, Characters and Scenes

Amazon has launched a suite of tools promising to make it quick — and affordable — for any business to create slick-looking 3D virtual reality and augmented reality apps.

The company’s Amazon Web Services unit announced Amazon Sumerian, a new service for building VR, AR, and 3D applications that can be viewed on mobile devices, head-mounted displays, digital signage, and web browsers. The Sumerian tools let customers create 3D characters, called “Hosts” (which, by the way, also is what the AI robots in HBO’s “Westworld” are called), to narrate and guide users through immersive scenes.

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.

Amazon Sumerian will let any developer create “a realistic, interactive VR or AP application” in just a few hours, according to Marco Argenti, VP of technology at AWS.

It’s designed to eliminate the need for specialized tools for tasks like 3D modeling, environmental design, animation, lighting effects, and audio editing, as well as the additional step of adapting AR and VR applications for different hardware platforms. According to Amazon, the VR and AR apps created in Amazon Sumerian will run in any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics rendering. Supported devices include Google’s Daydream, HTC Vive, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, and iOS mobile devices.

Given previous requirements to launch AR or VR apps, businesses have been “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 Argenti.

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.

Amazon Web Services doesn’t charge a fee for designing and editing AR and VR applications. 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. Storage pricing for Sumerian 3D assets is 6 cents per gigabyte monthly, and the fees for the total volume of traffic generated by each scene is 38 cents per GB per month. (More info on Amazon Sumerian pricing is available here.)

Amazon Sumerian’s editor lets developers drag and drop 3D characters and objects (like furniture or buildings) into “scenes” (e.g. rooms, office environments, and landscapes). 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 tools are integrated with Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly, which provide automatic speech recognition, natural-language processing, and text-to-speech capabilities. That’s supposed to let customers create 3D characters that can understand and respond to end users in virtual conversations.

More Digital

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019, and invest more in its ongoing international expansion. The streaming-device maker told investors on Thursday that it expects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year, and that international growth was one of its key investment areas for 2019. Roku made these announcements as [...]

  • Vice Media

    Vice Media Taps Joe Simon as Chief Technology Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joe Simon has been tapped as chief technology officer at Vice Media. The newly created role will include oversight of data analytics, engineering, information technology, media operations, media technology, post production, and systems management. Prior to Vice, Simon spent three years as Encompass Digital Media’s chief operating officer. Previously he held the chief technology officer [...]

  • att_logo

    AT&T Suspends YouTube Ad Spending as Boycott Over 'Pedophilia' Videos Scandal Widens

    AT&T, one month after it thought it was safe to advertise on YouTube again, said it is pulling all advertising spending from the world’s biggest video platform. The telco joins a boycott by marketers alarmed by the discovery that a secret group of child predators has been using YouTube to make sexual comments about kids. [...]

  • VR Pop-Up Opens Doors in Manhattan

    Future of Storytelling Pop-Up VR Arcade Is Coming to Manhattan

    Manhattan is getting a location-based virtual reality (VR) pop-up, courtesy of Future of Storytelling: The temporary Story Arcade will open its doors in the Starrett-Lehigh building this coming Saturday, and host a number of VR experiences, including Felix & Paul Studio’s “Traveling While Black,” Fable’s “Wolves in the Walls” and MWM Immersive’s immersive theater VR [...]

  • Amy Winehouse

    Amy Winehouse Hologram Tour Canceled Over 'Challenges and Sensitivities'

    Amy Winehouse will not be “Back to Black” in a holographic live tour after all. The late British singer, who died in 2011, was to be featured in a stage show slated to launch near the end of 2019. But the producer of the show, BASE Hologram, has indefinitely postponed plans for the Winehouse show, [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Joins TikTok App to Promote NBC's 'World of Dance'

    Jennifer Lopez is the latest celebrity to hop on TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance — more proof of the app’s growing traction, and reflective of media companies’ desire to reach its young-skewing base. Lopez had a very specific aim: to get fans excited about “World of Dance,” the NBC [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content