Microsoft wins $21bn US Army custom HoloLens contract

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For up to 120,000 headsets.

Microsoft has signed a contract with the US Army, worth up to $21.88bn, to deliver 120,000 custom Hololens augmented reality headsets.

1 The custom Hololens IVAS headset.

The deal comes after a previous $480m contract in 2018 to develop prototype versions for the army, CNBC News reported. The IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmented System) concept used the headset’s display to show map and thermal imaging systems, as well as the aim for a weapon.

That agreement was criticised by Microsoft employees in an open letter, in which staff said they “did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used”. These concerns were dismissed by Microsoft boss CEO Satya Nadella, and the contract went ahead.

Today’s new deal means Microsoft will work to mass produce the IVAS prototype for widespread US Army usage.

“The IVAS aggregates multiple technologies into an architecture that allows the Soldier to Fight, Rehearse, and Train using a single platform,” the US Army wrote in a press release.

“The suite of capabilities leverages existing high-resolution night, thermal, and Soldier-borne sensors integrated into a unified Heads Up Display to provide the improved situational awareness, target engagement, and informed decision-making necessary to achieve overmatch against current and future adversaries. The system also leverages augmented reality and machine learning to enable a life-like mixed reality training environment so the CCF can rehearse before engaging any adversaries.”

Catching Pokémon in mixed reality, this is not.

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