Tags: augmentedreality | microsoft | army | headsets

Army Signs Contract With Microsoft for Augmented Reality Headsets

Army Signs Contract With Microsoft for Augmented Reality Headsets
Microsoft's technical fellow Alex Kipman speaks about "HoloLens 2" on February 24, 2019. (Gabriel Bouys /AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 March 2021 04:42 PM

The U.S. Army has awarded a contract worth potentially about $22 billion to computer software company Microsoft to purchase about 120,000 augmented reality headsets which can display battlefield information to soldiers in combat, the company announced on its blog.

The contract for the custom HoloLens headsets follows a $480 million deal the Army signed in 2018 for Microsoft prototypes of its Integrated Visual Augmented System, or IVAS, which was based on the HoloLens technology, CNBC reported.

The IVAS system is essentially a heads-up display device resembling a translucent or transparent pair of goggles or eye shield attached by a headband that can project a map, compass, include thermal imaging to reveal people in the dark and show the aim for a weapon among other information. It also can project three-dimensional images of an objective or target.

“The program delivers enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios,” Microsoft said.

A call to the Department of Defense regarding the announcement was not immediately returned.

The standard civilian available HoloLens headsets cost about $3,500 apiece.

The Army has been testing the protype versions for at least a year and a half, including extreme cold weather scenarios which it announced on Tuesday.

Some Microsoft employees anonymously balked at the company’s contracts with the U.S. military, putting forth an open letter in 2018 – albeit unsigned – demanding Microsoft not engage in a $10 billion contract with the Pentagon for cloud services, and another group – also anonymously – slammed the HoloLens prototype deal in 2019.

Both insisted they have a say in how their work is used, which included not producing weapons.

Microsoft responded by dismissing the protest.

“We made a principled decision that we’re not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy,” the company said.

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The U.S. Army has awarded a contract worth potentially about $22 billion to computer software company Microsoft to purchase about 120,000 augmented reality headsets...
augmentedreality, microsoft, army, headsets
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2021-42-31
Wednesday, 31 March 2021 04:42 PM
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