The Microsoft HoloLens is set to be used in live combat missions and training by the US Army, with the Redmond giant receiving a $480 million contract to supply the augmented reality headset.
The device has already firmly established itself as a new-age learning tool, finding its way into the operating theatre, classroom and factory over the past couple of years.
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This new venture, though, is a significant step up from what we've seen previously, with the US government keen on finding a headset that could allow for night vision, the ability to measure vital signs, bring hearing protection and monitor for signs of concussion.
Interestingly, at least from what we know of HoloLens in its current form, these aren't features it's able to offer. However, with the Department of Defense opening this contract up to non-traditional military suppliers, it seems clear that the company was able to sell the capabilities of its technology in a combat environment.
If we're guessing, that may involve a bespoke headset for the army based upon an updated version of the headset, something that's already heavily rumored for release in 2019.
Of course, despite the technology being around since 2016, we've seen it take a different path to other AR headsets. Instead of trying to appeal to consumers, Microsoft indicates that the 50,000 shifted units has been in the business sector. And, naturally, that number is set to spike with the US Army's investment of potentially 100,000 devices. This represents the biggest backing of the headset so far.
When will we see the fruits of the partnership hit the battlefield? As you might expect, the timeline isn't yet clear, but we look forward to monitoring this one as the months roll on.