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Microsoft wins $480 million HoloLens contract from US Army

By Cal Jeffrey · 10 replies
Nov 29, 2018
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  1. Bloomberg notes that a government description of the program says, "[We aim to] increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide, and engage before the enemy."

    Microsoft’s HoloLens is currently only available to developers for $3,000 and businesses for $5,000. A consumer model for a much lower price may reportedly be unveiled at CES 2019. The government contract is asking Microsoft to provide 100,000 units. That breaks down to about $4,800 per headset.

    However, the DoD is also tasking the tech giant with developing military-grade software to go along with the highly customized devices. The Army wants the goggles to allow for night vision and hearing protection. It is also asking that the software monitor vital signs, and detect concussions.

    "Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area," a Microsoft spokesman told Bloomberg.

    "Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions."

    It is unclear how Microsoft will be able to provide all of that for less than it sells enterprise versions of the HoloLens, but knowing US government expenditures, the $480 million was probably just a development fee with a future purchasing price yet to be determined.

    How Microsoft staff will react to the military contract remains to be seen. Employees recently raised a fuss with Redmond over its deal with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) even though the company had only agreed to supply the agency with email, calendar, and messaging services.

    President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in a blog post that Microsoft will remain committed to its military and governmental agreements despite pushback from staff. Employees that are ethically conflicted regarding any contracts will be allowed to switch to a different project if they wish.

    "To withdraw from this market is to reduce our opportunity to engage in the public debate about how new technologies can best be used in a responsible way," said Smith. "We are not going to withdraw from the future. In the most positive way possible, we are going to work to help shape it."

    The Department of Defense expects Microsoft to deliver at least 2,500 units within the next two years along with a promise for full-scale production.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,385   +3,775

    Since this device is not actually harming anyone, any push back might be deemed unacceptable, but if enough people join into it anything can happen ...... Personally, I sure wish we had this when I was working for Uncle ......
    Hexic likes this.
  3. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,476   +3,034

    Expect KIA-s from BSoD.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
    Hexic likes this.
  4. Hexic

    Hexic TS Evangelist Posts: 505   +334

    We'd get them 20 years later, and 4 gens old.

  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,369   +5,002

    Makes me wonder how this will work on all those old Windows XP machines.
  6. Eldritch

    Eldritch TS Addict Posts: 128   +125

    This is not just to aid in killing but will also help in search and rescue operations, will allow facial recognition and tracking of targets in collaboration with others and will reduce attrition damage and monitor healrh status of soldiers so they can be extracted when needed and avoid death or disability of soldiers.

    I mean, assuming that an attack on a target is going to happen, what is preferable?

    A) Attack in vicinity of the target which often results in striking an entire building to kill a target as it is almost impossible to identify target in real time and if you misidentify and get the wrong guy then the target wil most likely go underground for a long time.

    B) Precise target identification and tracking, collaboration with others and extracting/neutralizing the target with minimum collateral.
  7. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 814   +399

    If this device doesnt increase kill rate at least 20% for USA army, that will be a waste of 480 millions.
    I would also expect 30% in shooting accuracy.
  8. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 677   +658

    Considering the US Army's budget, they need to waste a bunch of money in order to make sure they get the same budget next year. The Pentagon has admitted they build and order things they don't need, just to spend money that they didn't ask for.

    It's a funny, albeit depressing state of affairs, when the US military is such a vote-winning symbol that even though it has a larger budget than the 2nd-5th biggest armies in the world combined, it still gets more and more money thrown at it each year.
    Knot Schure likes this.
  9. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,992   +3,477

    This is more money spent on extra-circular activities in every school in the United States and yet isn't even peanuts for the military. It's not even a blip on the radar until it costs 1 billion plus.
  10. Hexic

    Hexic TS Evangelist Posts: 505   +334

    What was really nice to watch is when PMC's would get restocked with brand new M35's and MRAPs because one axle busted.. and they'd blow up the old vehicles because they were getting new ones on contract anyways.

    So much f'cking money wasted.
  11. there was a quote from Everett McKinley Dirksen (4 Jan 1896 – 7 Sept 1969) who was an Illinois Republican Senator.
    "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money."
    He actually denied it saying "Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fella misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so good that I never bothered to deny it." So I guess it is a misattribution, but no one really knows who said it.

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