When it was announced that Microsoft entered into a contract with the US Army, the company caught some flak, even from its own employees who protested the project. Although the $479 million contract was contested, it didn’t stop Microsoft to go ahead with its plans and it’s now been revealed through an inside look that the US Army uses a version of the HoloLens 2 on the battlefield.
The US Army gave CNBC an inside look at its version of the HoloLens 2 which soldiers will use on the battlefield. Called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), this modified military version of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 features some upgrades that you would only expect from something used in the US Army, like thermal imaging capabilities and more.
It’s an augmented-reality headset, which means it places digital objects, such as maps or video displays, on top of the real world in front of you.
The IVAS headset has a visor which is capable of 3D, AR display and the headset is described as feeling familiar, especially if you’re a gamer. The report described the experience with the headset as feeling like a real-life game of Call of Duty.
If this sounds familiar, you might be a gamer. The whole experience felt natural to me, as I’ve played lots of first-person shooter video games that show me exactly where I am on a map, where my teammates are and where the enemy is. It was almost like a real-life game of Call of Duty.
The biggest draw for these devices from an Army point of view, seems to be its thermal imaging capabilities, with undersecretary of the US Army, Ryan McCarthy, describing it as a “game changer on the battlefield”.
With current night vision, smoke can blur what you see. With thermal, you can see through the smoke and engage and destroy a threat. This is a game changer on the battlefield.
The US Army is aiming to deploy these devices to “thousands and thousands of soldiers” by 2022, and hopes to have it widely available by 2028.
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