Microsoft will equip VR-glasses US soldiers
Microsoft is preparing their HoloLens glasses for battle, literally. The company won a contract for $ 480 million with the US Army, and now will help soldiers to plunge into a mixed reality, to become even more effective in real battles. The contract is for 2 years, and during this time the company will deliver more than 100,000 headsets to the government.
The exact purpose of the Microsoft MR-points is still classified. In the description of the program, it simply means that they will help "to increase mortality by improving the ability of soldiers to detect the enemy, and make informed decisions before entering the battle." Basically, experts are inclined to think that the armies of mixed reality are needed by the army, however, primarily for training. So that the soldiers could experience dozens of battles even before their first real battle.
According to Bloomberg, in addition to Microsoft, Google, Magic Leap, a subsidiary of AT & T and about 25 other companies took part in the fight for the state contract. HoloLens, apparently, was chosen due to the fact that this headset is already used by the military of the USA and Israel, and also successfully used by NASA engineers .
Most likely, Microsoft will have to seriously rework its headset for the military. In the document describing the conditions of the tender, it appears that the viewing angle of the gadget should be in the range of 55 to 110 degrees (HoloLens is “famous” for its extremely low FoV, about 35º). Also indicates the parameters of the minimum strength of the device, the fact that its weight should not exceed 0.7 kg, and the form factor should be suitable for existing military helmets.
The documents also describe one of the device usage scenarios. A mixed reality helmet must track the movements of a soldier’s weapon and show him during training how it will look like when he actually shoots. And this concerns not only rifles, but also grenade launchers and even anti-tank systems .
The progressive involvement of technology companies in US military projects is now one of the most painful and debatable topics. Google was forced to abandon the $ 10 billion deal with the Pentagon. As part of Project Maven, the company wanted to create an AI that finds people and the necessary objects on images from autonomous drones and, accordingly, improves the quality of air strikes. But more than 4,000 employees signed a petition to the company's management that they did not want to participate in the “business of war”, and people even went to mass protests. As a result, Google CEO Sundar Pichani decided to exit the deal.
Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon, on the contrary, is extremely positive about such projects for cooperation with the military. At the Wired 25 conference in October, he stated:
If big technology companies don’t help, if we all turn away from the Ministry of Defense, our country will have big problems.