Amazon Tool Lets Anyone Create AR, VR Experience

- Nov 27, 2017-

SEATTLE – Amazon Web Services has launched a new tool that “lets anyone” construct environments in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and 3D to run on multiple platforms.

Named Amazon Sumerian, the tool functions as a web-based editor for constructing AR, VR and 3D apps for browsers, headsets and mobile devices. Any browser supporting WebGL, Web VR or ARKit graphics renderings will run apps created with Sumerian.

Amazon’s press release states, “There is no software to install or upfront costs.” Users incur costs only for cloud storage of their 3D assets and traffic generated by the scenes they create. The pricing structure includes a Free Tier, which allows a 50mb published scene to receive up to 100 monthly views at no charge.

The company says Sumerian allows even novices to create virtual environments, populate them with objects such as furniture and build the logic “that controls how the objects and characters in the scenes behave and respond to actions.”

Behavior logic is important for interior design and furniture shopping applications because it keeps a virtual object in proportion to its environment as a viewer moves it around and limits the object’s placement to only what’s appropriate. For example, keeping a virtual image of a table anchored to the view of a floor. Scene logic also lets a scene creator script effects such as camera angles and lighting.

Amazon’s press release states specifically that “specialized skills and the use of multiple different tools for disciplines such as 3D modeling, environmental design animation, lighting effects, audio editing and more” will not be required to use Sumerian.

In its description of the “immersive VR, AR and 3D environments,” Amazon says the Sumerian editing tool will enable developers to “drag and drop 3D objects (e.g. furniture …) into “scenes” (e.g. rooms, office environments and landscapes).” Users can import their own 3D images of objects or “choose from Amazon Sumerian’s library of pre-built objects, (or) download and import objects from third-party asset repositories.”

Earlier this month, Furniture Today reported Amazon’s introduction of two living room furniture groups: Rivet, a group of Mid-Century Modern living room furniture and décor, and the more transitional, modern and higher-priced Stone & Beam.

Via email, Amazon told Furniture Today that “at this time, Rivet and Stone & Beam do not work with AR View, but stay tuned."

Apps built with Sumerian would offer viewers scenes that are already constructed and furnished, as opposed to the AR apps launched recently by companies such as IkeaHouzzWayfair and, which allow a shopper to overlay 3D images of home furnishing items onto whatever space she chooses to view through her smartphone.

Nonetheless, Sumerian makes it possible for any retailer to offer customers the service of creating a 3D version of a room and populate it with different combinations of furnishings. Motivated shoppers could create their own virtual version of a room and then populate it with furniture images supplied by their local retailer.