Microsoft’s AR glasses won’t cut it with US soldiers, says leaked report

Microsoft’s augmented reality Hololens goggles are getting a rough ride in US military testing, according to internal military assessments seen by Bloomberg and Insider.

Soldiers testing the headsets have complained about their “mission-influencing physical limitations,” saying wearing the glasses can cause headaches, nausea and eyestrain. Adoption of the technology “remains low,” says a summary prepared for military and Defense Department officials and seen by Bloombergwith soldiers complaining that the headsets don’t “contribute to their ability to complete their mission”.

A testimonial reported by Insider was even more blunt. “The devices would have killed us,” the tester said — referring to the light emitted from the goggles’ head-up display, which could alert enemy troops to the wearer’s presence.

Despite criticism, the military says the tests are considered a success so far

While these reports highlight shortcomings with the technology, they also point to tangible improvements, such as hardware reliability. An army spokesman said: Insider that tests of the glasses – known as the Integrated Visual Augmentation System or IVAS – have been deemed a success so far.

“The emerging results indicate that the program has met success in most of the Army’s evaluation criteria,” Brigadier General Christopher D. Schneider said. Insider in a press statement. “However, the results also identified areas where IVAS fell short and need additional improvements, which the military will address.”

Microsoft won a series of contracts worth tens of billions of dollars to provide the US military with its AR glasses. The contracts were seen not only as validation of Microsoft’s augmented reality strategy, but also the feasibility of the AR technology in general. The goggles are intended to provide soldiers with live navigation and command information via a head-up display, as well as provide thermal and night vision images.