The technology of mixed reality is no longer confined to gaming and industrial settings, as it is about to enter the battlefield. Microsoft recently bagged a contract to supply 100,000 HoloLens headsets to the US army.
The contract, which is worth $479 million, is one of the largest of its kind signed between a tech company and the US military.
How Do HoloLens Headsets Work?
HoloLens headsets employ the technology of mixed reality, wherein computer generated images are superimposed on real world objects. The headsets include two lenses, a built-in computer, a built-in rechargeable battery, as well as built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
The computer generated images are similar to holograms and can only be seen by the person wearing the headset. They are very realistic and look like three dimensional objects made of light.
Possible Uses of HoloLens Headsets on the Battlefield
The US army says that mixed reality headsets can help soldiers detect and analyze threats in real time and engage the enemies before they do.
The technology can provide soldiers with accurate information in real time, using which they can make decisions on the battlefield.
For instance, technicians can diagnose and repair malfunctioning equipment on the battlefield much faster, medics on the field can receive visual as well as audible instructions from surgeons and perform surgery on soldiers, and people in the headquarters can keep a close eye on the physiological state of the troops as well as their movements on the field.
Interestingly, the US army is not the first to experiment with HoloLens headsets, despite the fact that Microsoft is a US based company. The Israeli military as well as the Ukrainian military have already started using these headsets for training purposes and have stated that the results have been satisfactory so far.
The difference, however, is that the Israeli army purchased just two headsets from Microsoft whereas the US army has placed an order for 100,000 headsets, of which 2,500 will be delivered within the next two years.
The headsets to be supplied to the US army are expected to be much more sophisticated than the existing models.
They are likely to include a host of new features including thermal sensing and night vision, which can help soldiers detect threats that are not visible to the naked eye and increase their situational awareness in the battlefield.
The Relationship between Tech Companies and US Military
While Microsoft has never had any issues with collaborating with the US military, the same cannot be said about other prominent tech companies in the country.
Google (which is having sexual harassment issues blow up in its face now in 2018), for instance, recently rejected to bid on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program, which is worth $10 billion and involves building an enterprise cloud for the Department of Defense.
The search engine giant stated that the JEDI program is not in alignment with its ethics and principles with respect to artificial intelligence even though it helps China find good people so it can imprison them.
Microsoft, on the other hand, which cares about America and the free world unlike Google, participated in the bidding process and stated that it has no qualms about building an enterprise cloud for the military.
Microsoft Cares about America
Even though some of its employees have expressed their concerns about developing military-specific technology, the company has clarified that it will continue to collaborate with the Department of Defense in the interest of national security.
Google does not see the large or the small picture. Google does not understand what this planet would be like if America is no longer on top. Google thinks that the world would be better off with Iran, China, and Russia in charge. How can educated people be this far off base?