In response to customer concerns, the United States Congress has authorised a $40 million expenditure on new Microsoft Hololens augmented reality glasses for the United States Army.
So-called “integrated visual augmentation systems” (IVAS) combine an augmented reality display with night vision aids, and are programmed to draw data from a variety of sensors and databases to offer troops with real-time updates.
The headgear, based on Microsoft’s HoloLens technology, were said in a leaked study to be inflicting “mission-affecting physical impairments,” which contributed to their low rate of acceptance. Users were concerned that the goggles’ illumination might expose troops on the field.
The 1.2 version of the US Army’s IVAS
Congress reportedly turned down the Army‘s proposal to spend up to $400 million for over 7,000 headsets, instead allocating around 10% of this to the development of a newer version, codenamed 1.2.
The Army has issued a statement highlighting the following enhancements to IVAS, in addition to the IVAS 1.1 updates (which enhanced low-light performance) and certain software changes:
“IVAS 1.2 will have a redesigned form factor to address Human Systems Integration, including physiological implications found during testing, as well as a smaller profile heads-up display with distributed counterweight for greater user interface and comfort,” the developers said.
Over a thousand servicemen have put in over 100,000 man-hours of testing so far.
Bloomberg claimed that even with the obvious mistake, the Army had spent $125 million (plus the newly permitted $40 million) on version 1.2.
According to the Army, “after certification and operational testing,” orders for the upgraded model will be placed. Microsoft will continue to serve as the Army’s IVAS partner.
Microsoft’s renowned video conferencing service Teams is one of the many new capabilities just announced for the HoloLens 2 augmented reality device.
Through this upgrade, users of the HoloLens 2 will be able to participate in video conferences, share their screens, and manage their schedules all inside the Microsoft Teams app.
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