Microsoft HoloLens is facing another huge setback. The US Army requested Congress for $400 million to buy around 6,900 Microsoft HoloLens units this fiscal year. This request was rejected in the $1.75 trillion government funding bill. Early testing of Microsoft HoloLens by the US Army revealed “mission-affecting physical impairments” including headaches, eyestrain and nausea. This funding rejection by congress may be based on this report. It is important to note that the US Army has already ordered the first 5,000 HoloLens headsets which will be used for training.
However, congress has approved a $40 million fund to develop a new model of HoloLens. Recently, the Army awarded a $125 million “task order” for the new improved HoloLens model version 1.2 with software improvements for better reliability, reduced power usage and to address “physiological impacts identified during testing, and a lower profile Heads-Up Display with distributed counterweight for improved user interface and comfort.”
Microsoft has not yet responded to this funding rejection by the US congress.
Last year, the US Dept of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) questioned if the money allocated to Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) headset project is well spent.
“Procuring IVAS without attaining user acceptance could result in wasting up to $21.88 billion in taxpayer funds to field a system that soldiers may not want to use or use as intended,” the Pentagon oversight body wrote in an audit report this month.
The report notes that “if soldiers do not love IVAS and do not find it greatly enhances accomplishing the mission, then soldiers will not use it,” the report disclosed.
The report does note that feedback from surveys showed “both positive and negative user acceptance,” while Microsoft said, “Our focus continues to be on developing IVAS to be a transformational platform that will deliver enhanced soldier safety and effectiveness.”