News: Amazon Sumerian Now Available to Anyone Who Wants to Create AR & VR Apps

Amazon Sumerian Now Available to Anyone Who Wants to Create AR & VR Apps

Amazon Web Service's do-it-yourself tool for building augmented reality experiences and VR has graduated from beta and is now available to all interested users.

Unveiled at the AWS re:Invent developer conference last year, Amazon Sumerian is billed as software that lets anyone create AR and VR apps without any prior coding experience.

Image by Fidelity Labs/YouTube

The software is platform agnostic as well, as apps built through Sumerian can run in web browsers that support WebGL or WebVR, VR headsets (such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift), and on iOS and Android mobile devices that are compatible with ARKit and ARCore, respectively. Users can also integrate a number of other AWS services, such as Amazon Polly for text-to-speech functionality and Amazon Lex to facilitate conversational chatbots.

"You can create realistic virtual environments and scenes without having to acquire or master specialized tools for 3D modeling, animation, lighting, audio editing, or programming," wrote Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, in a blog post announcing Sumerian's general availability. "Once built, you can deploy your finished creation across multiple platforms without having to write custom code or deal with specialized deployment systems and processes."

Fidelity Labs, the research and development division of Fidelity Investments, served as one of Sumerian's beta customers. The team built a prototype VR assistant, named Cora, who can converse with customers and perhaps one day assist them with stock quotes. Considering the nature of the platform, Fidelity Labs could conceivably clear out the VR backgrounds to make this an AR experience in the future.

The tech industry's biggest players are all bending over backwards to give developers the tools to build apps and experiences for their respective platforms. After Apple introduced its ARKit framework for mobile AR app development, Google followed suit with ARCore for Android, as well as its Poly 3D model library and Google Maps API for location-based games. Similarly, Snapchat and Facebook have each released software for building AR experiences for their respective apps.

Of course, as excited as the tech industry is for AR, nurturing the technology and assisting the developer community is a means to an end. Ensuring that creators and developers favor the right operating system, platform, or web hosting service for their apps is the real end game.

Cover image via Fidelity Labs/YouTube

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