The US Army encouraged non-traditional military suppliers, such as Microsoft, Magic Leap and others, to bid on contracts. He wanted a device that could provide night vision, the ability to measure breathing and other vital signs, to offer hearing protection and a monitor for signs of concussion. It is unclear how Microsoft will provide these features Hololens.
“Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more detailed information for decision-making. This new job expands our long-standing, reliable relationship with the Ministry of Defense in this new area, ”said Microsoft. Bloomberg in a statement.
The headset has never been sold as a consumer product, but it is popular among enterprises for production, training, marketing, and other purposes. It was also used by the ISS astronauts (see above) for training and troubleshooting.
According to a recent Microsoft video, only about 50,000 units have been sold. On the contrary, the US Army can buy as many as 100,000 headsets, which, in fact, will triple sales. HoloLens is currently selling for $ 3,000 for developers or $ 5,000 for commercial use. According to reports, Microsoft will release a new, cheaper model in early 2019. In any case, the US Army is not entirely known for paying retail prices, and the contract will no doubt include software development and other services.
Google has been criticized to a large extent, especially by its employees, for its military contract with the Maven AI project and decided to transfer a $ 10 billion contract to the Pentagon. It is unclear whether Microsoft will receive the same rollback in the contract for the supply of Hololens units to be used in live battles. Microsoft employees recently signed a petition criticizing its contract with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE).
However, Microsoft recently said that the company will not stop selling software to the US military. President and General Counsel Brad Smith last month wrote that employees with ethical issues would be allowed to move to projects.
“We appreciated that no military in the world wanted to wake up to discover that the machines had started the war,” he said. “But we cannot expect that these new developments will be decided wisely if people in the technology sector who are most aware of technology leave the conversation.”