The US army is about to receive a first batch of HoloLens headsets customized by Microsoft for military troops. Bloomberg is reporting that Assistant Secretary for Acquisition Douglas Bush has “cleared the Army to begin accepting” the headsets after receiving positive results from field testing.
According to Bloomberg, the decision to accept the delivery of these first headsets was issued last month, though the initial order of modified HoloLens headsets was actually made back in March 2021. The US Army initially ordered 5,000 customized HoloLens headsets worth $373 million, and the project could represent an up to $21.9 billion investment over 10 years.
Earlier this year, previous reports suggested that Microsoft was expecting negative feedback from the US military about its Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) project. Microsoft also had to face some pushback from its employees over the contract, which forced CEO Satya Nadella to publicly defend it.
Fast forward to September 2022, it seems that the IVAS project could be back on the right track, though Bloomberg reports that a final test report is still incoming. “We did a good test and will learn from it,” Bush said in an earlier statement informed by the emerging results. “The Army remains confident that the program will succeed.”
Microsoft’s HoloLens division was recently in the news following the departure of HoloLens inventor Alex Kipman, who had previously denied rumors that HoloLens 3 had been canceled. If the augmented reality technology behind Microsoft’s HoloLens still has no real competition today, consumer use cases remain an afterthought. With Apple expected to launch its own AR/VR headset next year, maybe there will be some change on the horizon.