Microsfot announced Wednesday that their project with the U.S Army to provide HoloLens-based augmented reality headsets has moved from prototyping to production phase. Microsoft had won a contract for 120,000 custom HoloLens augmented reality headsets, which could be worth up to $21.88 billion over 10 years.
Microsoft’s 120,000 AR headsets for the Army are based on their Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) design. The modified design enhances the capabilities of the HoloLens 2 for soldiers in the field.
This isn’t the first time the US Government awarded Microsoft a contract. In 2019, Microsoft also got a contract to provide cloud services to the Defense Department. The department chose Microsoft over Amazon, a well-known leader in the public-cloud market.
“Microsoft has worked closely with the U.S. Army over the past two years, and together we pioneered Soldier Centered Design to enable rapid prototyping for a product to provide Soldiers with the tools and capabilities necessary to achieve their mission” Microsoft stated in their blog.
While some employees of Microsoft argued against the contract, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella defended the AR project, telling CNN that “we made a principled decision that we’re not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy.”