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HomeNewsMicrosoft’s headset for the military reportedly results in ‘physical impairments’ during tests

Microsoft’s headset for the military reportedly results in ‘physical impairments’ during tests


It is built on Microsoft HoloLens. (Microsoft Photo)

The U.S. military is experiencing shortcomings with Microsoft’s customized mixed reality headset, according to reports by Bloomberg and Insider.

According to reports, internal military assessments of field testing this year found that soldiers experienced headaches, nausea and eye strain. Bloomberg reports that more than 80% experienced discomfort within three hours of using the headset called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System.

A summary of the field exercise, produced by the Pentagon’s testing office, said soldiers suffered “mission-affecting physical impairments.”

The U.S. Army awarded Microsoft a contract last year worth up to $21.88 billion over 10 years to produce a headset with augmented capabilities based on the tech giant’s HoloLens technology.

“Our close collaboration with the Army has enabled us to quickly build and iterate on the IVAS to develop a transformational platform that will deliver enhanced soldier safety and effectiveness,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. “We are moving forward with the production and delivery of the initial set of HoloLens-based devices to fulfill our commitment to bring this next generation technology to the US Army.” 

This military headset uses existing, high-resolution thermal and night sensors that are integrated into one unified Heads up Display. This headset is designed to allow for a mixed reality, lifelike training environment by combining augmented reality and machine-learning.

Despite the drawbacks, the lenses also “enhanced navigation and coordination of unit movements,” according to the Pentagon report.

As it goes through further tests and improvements, the device should be ready for soldiers by 2023.  

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