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Microsoft Secures $480 Million U.S. Army HoloLens Contract

Microsoft announced it was awarded a $480 million contract to begin development on an augmented reality system for use with its HoloLens headset for the U.S. Army.

Previously, the U.S. Army had been looking into pitches from both Microsoft and Magic Leap, both in a bidding war for the contract. Microsoft has emerged victorious, however, and will now be moving forward.

The Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) the company is working on was previously known as the Heads Up Display (HUD) 3.0 and is meant as a way to offer soldiers on the battlefield (as well as those in training) an increase in “lethality, mobility, and situational awareness.” It will provide remote viewing when it comes to weapon sights, thermal and night vision cameras, vital tracking for soldiers, and can even track concussions.

The system is meant to perform as a pair of goggles or a visor rather than a helmet, and will feature an integrated 3D display as well as a ballistic laser, digital cameras, and a method of hearing protection for the wearer. The military is planning to order about 2,550 prototypes over the course of the product’s development, with a full production order that could exceed 100,000 devices.

The HoloLens in its original state has already been used by the military for various exercises, but it isn’t rugged enough and doesn’t meet the requirements for the military-grade usage required on the battlefield. Changes to make the initial design less bulky and more wearable for soldiers in the heat of battle are expected to be made, with a new version coming next year.

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