Despite Microsoft seemingly shuttering much of its consumer-based mixed reality hardware development this year, the company is keeping parts of the augmented reality business alive to produce new HoloLens headsets for the US Army that are reported to be “slimmer, lighter, and more balanced.”
According to a report from Engadget, Microsoft plans to deliver an updated version of its HoloLens headset to the US Army later this month that showcases a slimmed down version of the visor for their joint Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) platform.
Microsoft decision to update its HoloLen design comes after months of in-field testing and training with Army soldiers complaining of nausea, headaches, eyestrain, and general physical discomfort when wearing the headset.
The number of personnel to first try the updated design of HoloLens is said to be around 20 at the start of August according to further reporting from Bloomberg.
Microsoft’s multi-billion-dollar contract with the US Army to deliver hardware to support their joint IVAS venture has been a rocky road to-date with reduced orders, Congress holding funds distribution, and Army notes that have sent the company to the drawing board several times.
As it stands, Microsoft is seemingly running with a skeleton crew in its Mixed Reality division as it attempts to appease the US Army and its request for thousands of combat-ready hardware in the next few years.
Next month’s trial will be yet another hurdle Microsoft will have to clear as it tries to reinstate the full terms of its $21.9 billion dollar contract with the US Army by 2025, where the Army is looking to start integrating the headset into operational battle tests.