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Microsoft set to deliver enhanced HoloLens combat goggles to Army testers this month

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Microsoft set to deliver enhanced HoloLens combat goggles to Army testers this month-GadgetAny
US Army Hololens

Image credit : Army.mil

Microsoft is once again testing its HoloLens-based combat goggles with the US military. The company has confirmed that it will provide improved IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) 1.2 devices to the Army before the end of July. These updated augmented reality models are described as “slimmer, lighter, and more balanced” than previous versions, making them more comfortable and potentially enhancing soldiers’ performance.

In late August, two squads from the Army will test 20 prototype IVAS goggles. The evaluation will focus on low-light functionality, reliability, and potential discomfort or health issues experienced by soldiers. In previous tests, some users complained of nausea, headaches, and eye strain, while others were dissatisfied with the bulkiness, limited field of view, and the display glow that could give away a soldier’s position at night. Moreover, certain key features experienced relatively frequent failures.

US Army Hololens
Image credit : Breaking Defense

The purpose of the HoloLens tech is to improve battlefield awareness. Infantry using IVAS can see the positions of their teammates, access vital health statistics, and utilize night vision that is less conspicuous. This allows for better coordination during assaults and the ability to recognize signs of injury or fatigue.

If the August test proves successful, the technology may be deployed in the field within a few years. The Army plans to award a contract for a second field study between July and September 2024 and could move towards operational combat testing as early as April 2025, with potential deployment following shortly after.

Also read : US Congress Halts Further Army HoloLens Orders Amid Testing Concerns, Work Begins On New Version

However, the outcome of this test holds significant importance. Congress previously blocked further orders of the earlier goggles in January due to reported issues, and Microsoft was granted $40 million to rework the hardware instead. If any problems persist, the Army may cancel the program, resulting not only in the loss of a lucrative contract for Microsoft but also casting doubt on the HoloLens technology itself. The mixed reality division faced challenges, including the departure of lead developer Alex Kipman due to misconduct allegations last year and layoffs earlier this year.

Awanish Kumar

By Awanish Kumar

I keep abreast of the latest technological developments to bring you unfiltered information about gadgets.

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