Microsoft HoloLens is an augmented reality headset that the software giant is positioning for use in a number of industries. The AR headset can be used for training and also for other purposes. This week, the United States Army announced that it would be working with Microsoft to move into the production phase of a HoloLens-based headset called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS).
IVAS is moving from rapid prototyping to production and then to rapid field. IVAS is based on HoloLens with augmentation through the Microsoft Azure cloud service delivery platform to make soldiers safer and more effective in the field. The aim of the program is to provide enhanced situational awareness, allowing information sharing and decision making in a variety of potential scenarios.
Microsoft and the US Army have worked together for the past 24 months using what they call Soldier-Centered Design. The design program quickly created a prototype of the device to provide soldiers with tools and resources to accomplish their mission. Microsoft says it appreciated the partnership with the U.S. Army and its confidence in the transition from IVAS from rapid prototyping to rapid field.
Microsoft did not go into much detail about the types of data the IVAS system provides to soldiers on the ground. Looking at the image, we see that the headset is equipped with several cameras and sensors and a small screen directly above the user’s line of sight. The headset looks more like the glasses that soldiers can use in the field to protect their eyes than a typical HoloLens system.
It is unclear when exactly the Army plans to start launching the headsets for its combat soldiers. It is also unclear whether the intention is to equip all soldiers with the headset or just certain groups for certain types of missions.