Microsoft Wins $480M Contract for Combat-Grade HoloLens

From PC Mag: Mixed reality just got a lot more serious and lucrative for Microsoft thanks to the US Army. A contract worth $480 million has been awarded to Microsoft that will see it supply up to 100,000 modified HoloLens headsets for use in training and combat situations.

As Bloomberg reports, HoloLens is already in use by the US Army and Israeli military for training, but this contract is different as it requires Microsoft to modify the headsets so as to be of use during combat missions. The upgrades required include adding night vision, thermal sensing, and the monitoring of vital signs of the wearer.

The Army doesn't just want HoloLens to offer soldiers more information, but to constantly assess their state. It will be possible to assess an individual's "readiness" using these combat-grade HoloLens units, but also monitor for concussion as well as offering the wearer hearing protection.

Under the terms of the contract, Microsoft is expected to deliver 2,500 headsets within two years that meet the criteria set out by the Army. At that point this new version of HoloLens should also be ready for "full-scale production."

Any doubt that this HoloLens will be anything other than a combat upgrade is removed by reading the description of what the Army requires. It states the headsets are required to "increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy." If Microsoft delivers on that front, I'm sure the Army will be ordering a lot more than 100,000 headsets in the near future.

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