Recently, Microsoft, the U.S. tech giant, will sell its augmented reality headsets to the American army. The bumper deal will be worth up to $21.9bn (£15.9bn). The company has signed a contract for more than 120,000 headsets manufactured in the US.
These AR headsets are based on its HoloLens product and allow its users to see holograms that are superimposed over their actual environment.
On Wednesday, after the announcement was made, Microsoft’s shares surged 3%.
Augmented reality is very different from virtual reality as it adds graphics to the user’s existing view. It does not replace it with a new environment.
As a result, AR can add more information to the already existing environment and users can see “heads-up displays” or holographs.
Commercially, Microsoft is selling HoloLens to businesses primarily for nearly $3,500 per headset, who then pairs it with a different customized software application.
Other users of this technology are Architecture firms, universities, car manufacturers, hospitals, and Nasa, the U.S. space agency.
In the span of the last two years, the company has worked for hand in hand on the prototyping phase with the U.S. Army on the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). This is a military-grade version of the Hololens.
The company said that the Army had decided and moved the product to the production phase of the project.
In a blog post, Microsoft said the headsets “will keep soldiers safer and make them more effective”.
“The program delivers enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios,” the post said.
In 2018, after Microsoft announced the $480m IVAS contract more than 94 workers petitioned to cancel the deal and stop developing weapons technologies.