Congress refuses Army request to spend $400 million on Microsoft HoloLens-based headsets

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What simply occurred? The controversial deal between Microsoft and the US Army for the army department to purchase 6,900 HoloLens-based headsets at the price of $400 million has been blocked by congress. As a comfort, the federal government permitted $40 million for Microsoft to construct a brand new and improved model that troopers will hopefully hate much less.

To recap, Microsoft was awarded a $480 million contract to present the US Army with Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) headsets in 2018. The gadgets mix high-resolution evening, thermal, and soldier-borne sensors right into a heads-up show. Powered by Microsoft Azure cloud providers, additionally they leverage augmented actuality and machine studying to allow a life-like mixed-reality coaching setting.

The preliminary settlement was expanded in March 2021, making certain Microsoft would supply finalized manufacturing variations, elements, and help in a deal doubtlessly price billions throughout a decade.

But the IVAS deal has been beset by issues from the beginning. There have been the delays that pushed again orders by a 12 months, a warning from a Department of Defense oversight company that the entire thing could possibly be a waste of taxpayer cash, and, most worrying of all, reviews that troopers hated them as they will trigger complications, eye pressure and nausea, signs that 80% of testers stated appeared inside three hours of use—and that is not even mentioning the gadgets’ failure of important capabilities. One tester stated the headsets may get army personnel killed.

The newest setback is available in a protection appropriations abstract (PDF) that reveals the IVAS program won’t obtain the $400 million in funding requested by the Army to purchase 6,900 headsets; as a substitute, it is going to get $40 million to go towards growing a brand new, higher model.

Last month, the Army said it could place orders for accomplished IVAS model 1.2 headsets “after qualification and operational testing.”

The Army has already ordered 5,000 IVAS models and handed Microsoft $125 million to create a revised mannequin. It nonetheless plans to spend up to $21.9 billion over the subsequent ten years for as many as 121,000 headsets.

Microsoft does not appear to be nervous about congress’ resolution. A spokesperson instructed The Register, “The regular cadence of building and testing IVAS is a critical part of the development process. Ultimately, this cadence will help us refine and improve the technology to ensure it brings unparalleled protection and capabilities to America’s Soldiers.”

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