Mar 31, 2021 - Technology

Microsoft wins Army contract to manufacture 120K augmented-reality headsets

Illustration of the Microsoft logo wearing a soldier's helmet.  

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Microsoft on Wednesday was selected to manufacture 120,000 HoloLens augmented-reality helmets for the U.S. Army as part contract that could be worth up to $21.88 billion.

Why it matters: Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google are all delving into augmented-reality glasses in different ways, but the technology is likely still a few years off for mainstream consumers, Axios' chief technology correspondent Ina Fried writes.

Details: The Army hardware is called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). An Army press release notes that IVAS will allow "multiple technologies into an architecture that allows the Soldier to Fight, Rehearse, and Train using a single platform."

  • Microsoft said in its own press release that the company "has worked closely with the U.S. Army over the past two years, and together we pioneered Soldier Centered Design to enable rapid prototyping for a product to provide Soldiers with the tools and capabilities necessary to achieve their mission."

Our thought bubble: It’s a large deal both in terms of the money it will bring in and in giving Microsoft the confidence to invest more heavily in mixed reality headsets. It also further demonstrates that augmented reality is indeed the future, per Fried.

Go deeper