US Army begins rolling out Augmented Reality for soldiers
The US army has received the first batch of proposed 120,000 augmented reality goggles meant to help soldiers become more effective in close combat. The Integrated Visual Augmented System (IVAS) is built around Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality (AR) goggles and works by projecting critical information in a soldier’s field of view, including maps, enemy positions, key friendly positions, and other information.
Soldiers can use the goggles to see the position of others in their squad, laid-out pathways across the battlefield, and also receive feeds from nearby night vision devices. Soldiers will also be able to see outside the wall of their vehicles by connecting the goggles with cameras mounted on the hull of the vehicle or drones flying overhead.
The IVAS will mainly be used by the infantry, which as it stands has been the most technologically neglected department in the army.
The project is estimated to cost over $21.88 billion over 10 years, but Congress seems to think that 120,000 goggles are overkill. They believe that part of this money can be directed to fund another tech gadget that was stalled in favour of the AR goggles.
There were plans to develop Enhanced Night Vision Goggles Binocular (ENVG-B), which promises stereoscopic night vision and can also connect to night vision sights attached to weapons. This would enable soldiers to aim at targets over a wall and fire without exposing themselves.
IVAS is a testament to how technology can be leveraged to improve military power and efficiency of soldiers and it’s a bit unfortunate that it has to battle it out with another technology for funding.
However, the two technologies complement each other and it doesn’t matter which one is adopted on a large scale, it will still be an invaluable addition to the US Army and one that gives them an edge over their enemies in the battleground.