ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

US Army to use Microsoft’s Hololens for combat missions

29 November 2018, 09:10 | Jodi Jackson

US Army to use Microsoft’s Hololens for combat missions

Microsoft Supplying American Soldiers With HoloLens AR Headsets

"Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions", a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement.

According to a report published by Bloomberg, Microsoft has just signed a contract with the US Army worth approx $480m. Now priced at US$5000 each for the standard model, the military version will be upgraded with night vision capabilities, thermal sensing, will offer hearing protection and will be able to measure vital signs including a soldier's combat readiness.

Called Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), formerly Heads Up Display (HUD) 3.0, the goal of the project is to develop a headset that gives soldiers-both in training and in combat-an increase in "Lethality, Mobility, and Situational Awareness".

The contract will require Microsoft to deliver 2,500 HoloLens devices within the first two years. "Given our size and product diversity, we often have open jobs across the company and we want people to look for the work they want to do, including with help from Microsoft's HR team", Smith said.

Any doubt that this HoloLens will be anything other than a combat upgrade is removed by reading the description of what the Army requires. The custom variant will be created to "increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy", meaning that future soldiers will be taking these into the battlefield.

United States military officials clearly like what they've seen, and they're now ready to deploy augmented reality (AR) tech in live combat missions.

One thing that seems to have worked in Microsoft's favor is that its HoloLens headsets are already used by the US Army for training. The company has previously faced criticism from its employees for bidding for military contracts, but it responded by saying it believed that those defending the U.S. should have access to the best technology. Microsoft employees recently signed a petition criticizing its contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In October, a blog post purportedly written by Microsoft employees urged the company not to bid on a multi-billion dollar us military cloud contract. "Many Microsoft employees don't believe that what we build should be used for waging war", they wrote in a blog post on Medium.

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