Congress puts brakes on buying more Microsoft combat goggles

According to Bloomberg, the US government has decided against purchasing additional HoloLens-based AR combat spectacles from Microsoft after realising that the present version has some problems to iron out. Instead of buying more of the existing type, the government gave Microsoft $40 million to build a new model.

The upgraded battle goggles will address test findings from last year when 70 troops wore the present type throughout three 72-hour combat scenarios. According to the findings, the troops had “headaches, eyestrain, and nausea,” and the system had too many “failures of vital tasks.” Furthermore, more than 80% of troops who reported pain did so during the first three hours of the 72-hour test.

As part of the $1.75 trillion federal budget package, the Army sought $400 million to purchase up to 6,900 pairs of eyewear. Instead, Congress appropriated $40 million from that amount to fund the development of the new version. The Army has already granted Microsoft $125 million to develop a redesigned model, and it still intends to spend up to $21.9 billion on up to 121,000 gadgets over the next decade.

The DoD deal has considerably increased Microsoft’s potential to earn from its AR gadget. Prior to collaborating with the Department of Defense, the business offered the headgear for corporate production, training, and other industrial applications. Although Microsoft has hinted at a consumer version of HoloLens, no details have been released — and the firm’s ambitions remain murky after the business apparently failed to establish a clear strategy for its device.