Microsoft’s augmented reality HoloLens AR headsets are not just pitched towards industry. In fact, with a multi-billion military contract, Microsoft HoloLens has gone through a major redesign specifically for the U.S. Military.
However, despite years of development, the first tests of finalised HoloLens AR headsets have been disastrous. Will they be improved? Or will they be abandoned?
Army testers turn against HoloLens AR
Via Business Insider, Microsoft’s military headsets has failed most criteria of a recent Army test. Testers claim that the headsets are dangerous for soldiers to wear into battle in their current iteration.
“The devices would have gotten us killed," one soldier said.
One of the biggest issues with HoloLens AR headsets is the glow of its display. In the report, it’s stated that the device can be seen on a soldier’s head from hundreds of meters away. Testers explained to Microsoft that this will give away positions, which isn’t good for warfare.
The current glow of the device may be due to negative feedback from soldiers earlier this year. In a previous report, soldiers complained about low readability in low-light environments.
Another integral issue of the headset is how it limits the vision of its wearer. Soldiers revealed that the new headset limits the wearer’s field of view. Furthermore, it even restricts how much the user can move.
Microsoft remains positive
HoloLens AR headsets failed in “four out of six evaluation events” in the recent operational tests. However, Microsoft remains positive that its $22 billion military contract will still be used by soldiers in the future.
Army spokesperson Brigadier General Christopher D. Schneider claimed that the hardware did achieve success in some areas. “However, the results also identified areas where IVAS fell short and needs additional improvements, which the Army will address."
Schneider noted that “The Army will provide the most reliable and advanced equipment to its soldiers.” That sounds like a bit of a dig to us.
In response, Microsoft explained that it expected negative feedback from soldiers. The company said: “We expect soldier sentiment to continue to be negative as reliability improvements have been minimal from previous events."