Augmented Reality Goes To War

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How the Army plans to use Microsoft’s high-tech HoloLens goggles on the battlefield.

Tech marvels aside, here’s the important bit:

The headset is impressive — better than any augmented reality experience I’ve ever seen, including Magic Leap, which also tried to win the Army contract. The project is also a showcase for the Army’s plans to work more closely with America’s tech companies to speed innovation in military.

For decades, anyone who wanted to win a military contract had to jump through hoops in a process that could take five to seven years just for the military to decide what it wanted. It would sometimes take 20 years for a product to hit the field, according to the Army. And the process rarely involved the troops who actually ended up using that technology.

A lot has changed.

There’s a new Futures Command based in Austin, Texas. It allows tech companies, from small start-ups all the way up to America’s biggest firms, to work directly with the military’s leadership and soldiers to bring new technology to the battlefield.

FLASHBACK: The US Navy’s newest submarine comes with an Xbox controller.

The Navy said in September that the new submarines would come equipped with a pair of photonics masts, which replace the previously-used periscope. The masts feature high-resolution cameras that can rotate 360 degrees and feeds their imagery to monitors in the ship’s control room. Initially, the masts were controlled with a “helicopter-style stick,” but those were described as heavy and clunky, and were swapped out with an Xbox 360 controller.

According to the Colorado’s commanding officer, Commander Reed Koepp, using off-the-shelf technology saves the Navy money, while the controller is already intuitive for the submarine’s sailors.

More stories like these, please.

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h/t SG


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