Military Hololens: Microsoft delivers first IVAS units to US Army

Military Hololens: Microsoft delivers first IVAS units to US Army

Despite a bumpy project history and hardware shortcomings, the U.S. Army is now accepting the first deliveries of the military Hololens IVAS from Microsoft.

In total, the Ivas project (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) could flush up to 22 billion US dollars into Microsoft’s pockets over a period of around ten years. The U.S. Army is prepared to invest this sum in up to 121,000 pairs of combat glasses.

However, there has been bad news about Microsoft’s military Hololens lately: The immature technology, especially weaknesses in the screen technology, led to massive cuts in the project budget for the next year.

Despite the problems: US Army and Microsoft continue with IVAS

But the U.S. Army is sticking with the project, buying a first batch of the initial shipment of up to 5,000 high-tech combat goggles worth a total of $373 million. Douglas Bush, Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, cites recent encouraging field tests as the reason.

However, the project plan is changing: The devices will first be delivered to units focused on training – a common use scenario for AR headsets like Hololens. For field use, the project plan is to be adjusted to allow more time to address deficiencies.

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“We did a good test and will learn from it,”  Bush said in an earlier statement. At the time, he already knew the upcoming results, according to Bloomberg. “The Army remains confident that the program will succeed.” Microsoft did not comment.

From the commercial market to the military to the mass market?

The interesting thing about the military Hololens project is that the Hololens technology was first developed for the commercial market and only then adapted for military use. However, those who had hoped that the additional military development budget would have an immediate positive impact on the commercial Hololens have been disappointed so far.

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A U.S. soldier wearing a large helmet with a visor on that has numerous cameras and sensors built into the front.
Microsoft: Military Hololens fights with the technology

Quite the opposite: At the moment, it rather looks like Microsoft will withdraw from the XR hardware business, apart from the military project. Alex Kipman, a key person in the Hololens project, recently left the company after more than 21 years. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also made it clear that Microsoft will focus on software in the Metaverse race.

Sources: Bloomberg