Microsoft’s Smart Goggles For U.S. Army Didn’t Pass Tests

Microsoft IVAS smart goggles

Last year, the U.S. Army awarded Microsoft a $22 billion contract to build HoloLens-like smart goggles for its soldiers, called the IVAS program. Recently, BusinessInsider reported that the contract is already behind schedule and plagued by quality and performance issues. Soldiers who tested it gave negative reviews.

The tester from the U.S. army said that the Microsoft IVAS smart goggles are dangerous for soldiers. He even said that “these devices will kill us.” What he meant was the light produced by the goggles when activated. It could allow enemy soldiers to spot the location of their own.

In a recent “hands-on demo,” the device failed four of six tests, according to a Microsoft employee familiar with the matter. He said that the light from the device’s display can be seen from hundreds of meters away, potentially revealing the wearer’s location. Testers also found that the soldier’s field of vision, including peripheral vision, was limited with goggles on. Plus, the size and weight of the device limited the soldier’s movement.

Microsoft IVAS smart goggles

So far, operational testing has been positive. So the U.S. Army remains committed to the IVAS program, an Army spokesman said. Brigadier General Christopher D-Schneider said, “The emerging results indicate that the program achieved success in most of the Army evaluation criteria. The Army will provide the most reliable and advanced equipment to its soldiers.”

By the way, back in 2018, the U.S. Army first awarded Microsoft a $480 million contract. The Redmond-based company should start working on a prototype of the advanced smart goggles, dubbed Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). Externally, the smart goggles look like Microsoft’s commercially available HoloLens Augmented Reality (AR) headsets. But the Army required the IVAS to do much more. Microsoft will commence shipping some 5,000 IVAS to the U.S. Army, Interesting Engineering reported last month.

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