Microsoft’s military-focused HoloLens headset, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), is set to receive significant improvements in its upcoming version. The mixed reality goggle, which is designed to provide comprehensive situational awareness to soldiers, will feature a slimmer design, more outdoor functions, and possibly a wireless controller. These enhancements aim to refine and perfect the technology, making it even more valuable to the military.

Slimmer Design and Reduced Weight:

The forthcoming 1.2 version of the IVAS will have a slimmer design, which will help counterbalance the front weight of the device and reduce neck strain for soldiers. The total target weight for the 1.2 device is 2.85 pounds, equal to the currently fielded Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular (ENVG-B). This reduction in weight will make the headset more comfortable and efficient for soldiers to use in the field.

Improved Features:

The 1.2 version of the IVAS will offer better eye relief, weapons compatibility, air flow, processing software, and a display that provides peripheral vision. One of the major new features includes the addition of color-coded navigation points and other map-marking features, which are viewable in the goggle either in map format or in the rotating compass headings in the user’s upper view. This will make navigation and communication between soldiers more effective and precise.

Virtual Sand Table and Enhanced Training:

The updated IVAS will also allow soldiers to build a virtual sand table of terrain, buildings, or any other features they may face during an upcoming mission. This will replace the need for traditional physical sand tables, improving mission planning and preparation. Additionally, the device will offer improved training features, such as tracking the goggle wearer through simulated shoot house scenarios and allowing instant replays of their moves and shots for review and improvement.

Addressing Challenges:

As with any advanced technology, the IVAS has faced some challenges, including image distortion and reduced field of view in earlier versions. However, these issues have been resolved through software fixes and the inclusion of improved low-light sensors for night vision. Microsoft’s team is also working on addressing reported cases of dizziness and nausea experienced by some soldiers when using the device, drawing on lessons learned from other high-tech efforts and partnering with experts from various fields.

Despite reports of unhappiness with the headset and rumours of cancellation, the upcoming improvements to Microsoft’s military-focused HoloLens headset demonstrate the ongoing commitment to refining and perfecting this mixed reality goggle for military use. As the technology continues to evolve, the IVAS promises to become an even more valuable and indispensable tool for soldiers in the field, enhancing situational awareness, communication, navigation, and training.