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Microsoft To Supply 120,000 HoloLens Glasses To U.S. Military For $22 Billion

This is the first time AR HoloLens glasses have been used in practice on such a large scale.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

/ by Ella Rose
Microsoft has just won a contract with the US Army to equip HoloLens wearable devices. The contract will last about 10 years, with Microsoft supplying 120,000 augmented reality wearables worth $21.88 billion, according to CNBC's report.

The software giant has been working closely with the US Army since 2018, and the troops have been testing Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) for the past 2 years. These devices will incorporate night vision sensors, heat sensors and soldier sensors into a screen worn on the head.

"This system will also leverage augmented reality technology and machine learning to deliver a lifelike mixed reality environment that helps Close Combat Force," said a statement from the US Army. "Practice before taking on a real enemy."

In February, the force showed how a new, more durable headwear would allow armored drivers to see through walls. An earlier version of this device has been criticized for its poor GPS and sensor performance, but now you can see how that design has been changed.

In 2018, Microsoft won a $479 million contract to supply the US Army with a variant of the HoloLens. The move later met with backlash from a number of Microsoft employees, forcing CEO Satya Nadella to speak up. However, then the US Department of Defense and Microsoft continued to work together on this new device.

HoloLens hasn't seen many significant hardware changes since the second version of this mixed reality device launched in 2019. Microsoft has recently improved the wearable's software, in addition to that is the improvement in gesture control. The company also added Microsoft Mesh, the company's display software to support "holoportation" - a feature that allows users to see themselves in virtual spaces.

Along with Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles, HoloLens made the first wave of augmented reality wearables and so forth. They gradually shift from end-user devices to other commercial, technological and military applications.

Meanwhile, a second wave is forming. The report says Facebook has mobilized nearly a fifth of its staff to research on VR and augmented reality. Rumors suggest that Apple is getting close to launching a compact VR and AR wearable, while Samsung, Snap, Qualcomm and others are also starting to launch their own prototype devices.

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