US military signs $ 21.8 billion contract with Microsoft for “mixed reality” glasses

The US Armed Forces agreed with Microsoft for mixed reality glasses to be used to increase the situational awareness of ground troops and to increase connectivity options with each other.

The US Armed Forces came to the signature stage of the program called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), which it wants to implement to increase the situational awareness of its soldiers, especially in the battlefield. The institution will offer the system based on the mixed-reality glasses HoloLens 2 platform introduced by Microsoft at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2019), under a 10-year contract, to the use of its soldiers. The amount Microsoft will receive for the deal is $ 21.8 billion.
The authorities, who wanted to offer a similar technology used by fighter pilots to the use of soldiers serving in ground troops, have already been in close contact with Microsoft in this field since 2018. In fact, about 50 company employees demanded the cancellation of the cooperation for the deal, which raised reactions from the Microsoft wing. Employees also wrote a letter on this subject, titled “Use HoloLens for good, not for war.”

In the process of using a strengthened version of the Hololens 2 for harsh terrain conditions, soldiers will not only be able to train on the same platform, but also perform exercises and perform their duties on the battlefield. Sensors in the IVAS will also offer soldiers night vision and optical enhancements used in thermal or daylight environment. To the user; IVAS will offer direction information, locations of friendly troops, different weapon sight options and face recognition, and will also offer augmented reality scenarios for different training situations.

IVAS, which will record the images taken during the training, will enable the end-of-activity review meetings to be held visually right after the training. For example, in previous tests, it was stated that soldiers could watch images of a mini drone that recorded the training performed in the air on IVAS.

Can connect to cloud-based networks

Having a battery life of approximately 8 hours with all applications open, IVAS can operate without the need for any connection, as well as connect to cloud-based computing networks to obtain more comprehensive data. For example, IVAS, which can synchronize with the “bloodhound” system, a company-level cloud network, will be able to update its data with new information. In the following process, Bloodhound will be able to access up-to-date data by connecting to larger networks when access is available.

Stating that it is planned to supply 40 thousand IVAS systems in the first place, the statement made by the authorities within the scope of mixed reality glasses is as follows:

“The IVAS program aims to provide staff with advanced situational awareness, information sharing and decision making opportunities for different scenarios. Microsoft has been in close contact with the US Armed Forces for over two years. During this period, we have been able to develop a product prototype that will enable the personnel to perform their duties in the best way with the Soldier Centered Design approach. “

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