US Army to use Microsoft’s Hololens for combat missions

US Army to use Microsoft’s Hololens for combat missions

It's not clear yet how Microsoft will bring those capabilities to Hololens. "Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions", explained Microsoft.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Microsoft with a $480 million contract to produce up to 100,000 HoloLens headsets for infantry use in combat missions, Bloomberg reports. Augmented reality startup Magic Leap is also reported to have bid, as part of an attempt by the military to expand the range of contractors beyond the traditional military-industrial complex. The US and Israeli army have begun testing it for training recruits.

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. "This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area", a Microsoft spokesman said to Bloomberg via email.

Only about 50,000 units have been sold so far, according to a recent Microsoft video.

Tensions: The deal is more good news for Microsoft, which overtook Apple as the world's most valuable company yesterday.

HoloLens was first announced in January 2015 and is not yet available for the general public, however it can be bought for £2,715 for commercial use. At the moment, the HoloLens goes for $3,000 to developers or $5,000 for businesses to use commercially.

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The military has already used HoloLens for training.

Military and policing contracts can be thorny for tech companies to deal with. Microsoft employees recently signed a petition criticizing its contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Microsoft and many other Seattle and Silicon Valley companies have been running into opposition from employees to dealing with the US Military over humanitarian concerns.

Later that month, Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, said the company would continue to sell software to the USA military.

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