HoloLens from above, showing the visor and the headband.

HoloLens from above, showing the visor and the headband. (credit: Esy Casey)

Microsoft has won a $480 million contract to develop an augmented reality system for use in combat and military training for the US Army.

Called Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), formerly Heads Up Display (HUD) 3.0, the goal of the project is to develop a headset that gives soldiers—both in training and in combat—an increase in “Lethality, Mobility, and Situational Awareness.” The ambitions for the project are high. Authorities want to develop a system with a goggle or visor form factor—nothing mounted on a helmet—with an integrated 3D display, digital cameras, ballistic laser, and hearing protection.

The system should provide remote viewing of weapon sights to enable low risk, rapid target acquisition, perform automated or assisted target acquisition, integrate both thermal and night vision cameras, track soldier vitals such as heart and breathing rates, and detect concussions. Over the course of IVAS’s development, the military will order an initial run of 2,550 prototypes, with follow-on production possibly in excess of 100,000 devices.

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