Microsoft: US Army gets its first Set of Hololens-based AR Reality Glasses

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    The US Army has received the first set of Hololens-based augmented reality glasses as part of Microsoft’s contentious $21.9 billion deal with the service. After delays caused by worries about the functioning of the goggles, Assistant Secretary for Acquisition Douglas Bush has cleared around 5,000 sets of them.

    Microsoft received a $480 million contract to supply the US Army with HoloLens-based augmented reality glasses back in 2018. In a transaction that might be valued up to $21.9 billion over ten years, the agreement was expanded in March 2021 to ensure that Microsoft will offer finished production versions, parts, and maintenance. The Army initially placed a $373 million order for 5,000 units, with a total of about 121,000 units to be delivered throughout the course of the contract.

    According to Bloomberg, the Army is currently receiving part of the initial shipment of goggles. Delivery had been put on hold while more thorough testing was completed. The results have led to the service “is adjusting its fielding plan to allow for time to correct deficiencies and also field to units that are focused on training activities,” according to spokesman Jamal Beck.

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    According to the Army, a heads-up display created by the new Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) integrates high-resolution night, thermal, and soldier-borne sensors. It uses augmented reality and machine learning to create a realistic mixed reality training environment and is powered by Microsoft Azure cloud services.

    Microsoft and the military have had a rocky relationship.

    credit: techspot

    Redmond company employees expressed their displeasure with the deal in an open letter, which prompted CEO Satya Nadella to respond. The first headset deliveries were planned to start in the fiscal year 2021, but they were put off by a year.

    As many soldiers weren’t lovers of IVAS, a Department of Defense watchdog office warned in April that the enormous sum of money the Army was spending on the goggles might be a waste of government money. Bush pointed out that when night-vision goggles were first introduced in the 1970s, there was comparable opposition, but the military now uses the equipment extensively.

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    The Army will receive a final test report on IVAS the following month, which will assist it decide whether to keep buying the goggles. Additionally, it will aid Congress in making a decision regarding the $424.2 million the Army requests to be spent on the programme. In advance of the test results, the House and Senate appropriations panels have already suggested significant reductions to the request.

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