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Microsoft is making custom HoloLens headsets for the Army

That’s a total of 120,000 devices worth an estimated $21.88 billion

us army custom built microsoft hololens headset
Image: US Army

If you’ve been waiting for a killer app to get into Augmented Reality (AR), it seems that application will be warfare. Microsoft is creating 120,000 custom HoloLens headsets for the US Army, with a contract that could be worth $21.88 billion over the ten-year span.

This isn’t the first time they’ve gone into battle together. Back in 2018, Microsoft started creating the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) headset for the Army, combining high-resolution night, thermal, and soldier-borne sensors into a heads-up display for the user. The prototype back then showed a map and compass in an AR overview, as well as thermal imaging to pick up people in the dark. It also had the capability to show where weapons were pointed.

That’s a big change from the $3,500 HoloLens itself, which enables the user to see holograms laid over their field-of-view, and interact with those projections with hand gestures and voice commands. Now, with the help of the Azure Cloud platform from Microsoft, the Army’s IVAS can show a soldier multiple viewpoints, or enable them to “see” through the armored vehicle they may be riding in, thanks to the vehicle’s sensors.

It seems that the picture of future warfare from video games has been realized in the real world.

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