Microsoft has reached a contract with the United States Army by which they will provide augmented reality glasses to their soldiers for training and military activities.
The 10-year agreement and budgeted at 21.88 billion dollars will be the key for the Redmond firm to produce mixed reality glasses based on HoloLens.
The Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program will be the cornerstone of the US military’s plans for Microsoft to provide augmented reality glasses designed for the battlefield. It will use technology mainly from Microsoft, the HoloLens, and Azure, more specifically.
The idea behind the IVAS is to achieve a specific hardware architecture that uses multiple Microsoft technologies so that the soldier who carries it can train, rehearse combat operations and even launch into battle using a single technological platform without relying on separate systems.
According to the army’s own announcement, the IVAS will use high-resolution sensors capable of seeing in the dark, thermal sensors, and so on integrated into a unified head-up display. Thus, the soldier will have a clear objective at all times and will make the necessary decisions in an informed way, using augmented reality and machine learning to create mixed-reality training environments.
The contract includes 12,000 headsets within a decade. It is not the first time Microsoft collaborates with the army — the previous one left in the hands of the institution was 50,000 prototype glasses valued at 480 million dollars. The main difference, in this case, is the robustness of the current device based on the Hololens 2.
The most striking thing is that in 2018 the official objective of the IVAS was “to increase lethality by improving the soldier’s ability to detect, decide and participate before that of the enemy.”
These reinforced devices will unify the entire technological infrastructure of the army for training in mixed reality and in the use of this same technology in warfare activities on the battlefield.