Microsoft has won a $ 22 billion contract to provide the US military with its augmented reality headset.
Microsoft և Army announced the deal on Wednesday
The technology is based on Microsoft’s HoloLens headphones, which were originally designed for the video game and entertainment industry.
Pentagon officials have described futuristic technology, which the military calls its Integral Visual Enlargement System, as a way to increase soldiers’ awareness of the environment և targets և the ability to detect hazards.
HoloLens screens mounted on the head of Microsoft allow people to see virtual images that rise above the physical world in front of them. Users can control what they see with hand gestures or voice commands.
The military says the soldiers tested the gadgets last year in Fort Picket, Virginia. It said the system could help troops gain an advantage “on battlefields that are more urban, overcrowded, dark and unpredictable.”
The military first began testing the Microsoft system in 2018 with a $ 480 million contract, saying the headphones could be used for both training and real combat operations. The new agreement will allow Microsoft to mass-produce units for more than 120,000 troops in the Army Close combat force. Microsoft has announced that the contract will amount to $ 21.88 billion over the next decade, with a five-year base contract that can be extended for another five years.
Microsoft President Brad Smith told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February that the system could integrate night-time thermal vision and face recognition to provide front-line soldiers with “real-time analysis” on remote battlefields. He also described how it could help plan hostage rescue operations by creating the building’s “digital twin”.
In 2019, a group of Microsoft employees petitioned the company to cancel its initial deal with the army, arguing that it would turn real-life battlefields into a video game.
Microsoft is one of the few technology companies that has tried to seduce the gaming world with new glittering virtual reality glasses over the past decade, although efforts have largely waned. Microsoft has introduced its second-generation HoloLens 2, introduced in 2019, which is the basis for new army gadgets based on consumer applications.
Although Microsoft recently demonstrated the use of glasses to play the hit Pokemon Go game, it mainly uses devices as work tools to help surgeons, factory staff, and others.
The headset deal is part of Microsoft’s broader work as a defense contractor. In September, the Pentagon reaffirmed Microsoft as the winner of a $ 10 billion cloud computing deal.