Microsoft HoloLens-based headset enters production for the Army

Microsoft HoloLens is an augmented reality headset that the software giant is positioning to be used in multiple industries. The AR headset can be used for training and also serve 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 into rapid fielding. IVAS is based on the HoloLens with augmentation via the Microsoft Azure cloud services delivery platform to make soldiers safer and more effective in the field. The program's goal is to deliver enhanced situational awareness by enabling information sharing and decision-making across a range of potential scenarios.

Microsoft and the U.S. Army worked together closely over the past 24 months using what they call Soldier Centered Design. The design program rapidly prototyped the device to provide soldiers with tools and capabilities for achieving their mission. Microsoft says that it has appreciated the partnership with the U.S. Army and its trust in transitioning IVAS from rapid prototyping to rapid fielding.

Microsoft didn't go into much in the way of detail about what sort of data the IVAS system provides to soldiers on the ground. From looking at the image, we see the headset is fitted with multiple cameras and sensors and a small screen directly above the user's line of sight. The headset looks more like goggles soldiers might wear in the field to protect their eyes than what a typical HoloLens system looks like.

It's unclear when exactly the Army plans to begin rolling the headsets out to its combat soldiers. It's also unclear if the intention is to outfit all soldiers with the headset or only certain groups for certain types of missions.