In 2021, Microsoft won a United States Army defense contract worth up to $22 billion which would support the development of an Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), a tactical AR headset for soldiers based on HoloLens 2. Now Congress has rejected the Army’s request for $400 million to buy as many as 6,900 more of the AR combat goggles this year, a Bloomberg report maintains.

The rejection cites rocky tests conducted last year. Testing was done over a three-week period ending June 18th, where the Army assessed Microsoft’s IVAS with a cadre of 70 Army infantry soldiers, who were tasked with using the device during three 72-hour combat scenarios.

Complaints included “mission-affecting physical impairments,” with more than 80 percent of soldiers experiencing headaches, eyestrain and nausea after less than three hours using the goggles.

None of this comes as a giant surprise though, as Microsoft was reportedly bracing for negative field tests back in early 2022 due to alleged quality problems.

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Softening the blow somewhat, lawmakers have earmarked $40 million to develop a new IVAS model, Army spokesman David Patterson said in an email obtained by Bloomberg.

This comes only a few weeks after the Army awarded a $125 million “task order” for the development of a new model, dubbed version 1.2, which is said to include software improvements for better reliability and reduced power demand.

The 1.2 version task order is said to provide “improvements based on completed test events” which aim at a developing a “lower profile Heads-Up Display with distributed counterweight for improved user interface and comfort.”

In the meantime, the Army will be using its first batch of 5,000 goggles for training—only a small fraction of the max 121,000 devices, spares and support services stipulated in the $22 billion deal.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Daniel Meyer

    “CoD Advanced Warfare officially delayed”

  • XRC

    As reported by Techspot October 22:

    “Army tester warns that Microsoft Hololens-based AR goggles could get soldiers killed.

    According to excerpts from an Army report dictated to Insider, a tester has warned that the headsets pose a danger to soldiers due to the light they generate while active, which could alert enemy forces to a wearer’s location. The glow from the display is said to be visible from hundreds of meters away.”

  • Ad

    This whole thing was spectacularly corrupt and anyone could have pointed out that it was a bad idea but I really think a lot of this industry wanted the cash injection in AR.

  • ViRGiN

    Would fit well as Quest 3 exclusive.

  • sfmike

    Some corrupt congressman or women didn’t get their cut so we’ll blow money on some other weapon system that coincides with the choice of the current war profiteer in charge. That’s how America works.

  • Juan Ritz

    Isn’t the idea to only deploy these in select training scenarios until the tech matures into something viable for active battle? A lot of the spaghetti that the military throws at the wall isn’t initially viable, so I’m a little confused as to why this particular program receives so many headlines. AR has been an integral part of military flight tech for decades. The natural progression is to equip ground troops in a similar fashion. I see it as dipping their toes in the water with the HoloLens 2 so that they’re not left scrambling when the tech becomes a more solvent solution. Not a good use of funds? Sure, but that could be said about enormous swaths of the bloated US defense budget.

    • Ookami

      I imagine this gets a lot of attention from how interesting and futuristic-sounding the concept is.

      Funny thing is I remember them talking about the military utilizing and developing AR glasses in a behind-the-scenes disc of a Ghost Recon game from, like, 2005-2006.

  • Till Eulenspiegel
  • ViRGiN

    deckard is a lie.

  • Ookami

    I had a dream today that Half Life 3 was confirmed and even entered preorder…

  • Jim Marquess

    Go PSVR2