Soldiers play crucial role in development of US Army custom headset

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Soldiers and marines invested more than 40,000 hours into the design and development of the US Army Integrated Visual Augmentation System, making the device dedicated and suited to their needs

Quick read

➨ IVAS from the US Army is based on the HoloLens mixed reality headset and the subject of a $479 million contract in November 2018
➨ Today, IVAS consists of a head-mounted display that connects to a small computer and radio. While using Microsoft’s technology, is very much its own device
➨ The full version of this article will be available in the next issue of VRWorldTech Magazine

The story

Soldiers played a crucial role in the design and development of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), according to Bridgett Siter, communications director for the Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team, which is leading development of the device within the US Army.

IVAS is based on the HoloLens mixed reality headset and the subject of a $479 million contract.

Today, IVAS consists of a head-mounted display that connects to a small computer and radio. While using Microsoft’s technology, the US Army is very much developing its own device.

Siter says a soldier-centered design methodology was used to build IVAS, with user feedback influencing its design and development from day one.

Soldiers and marines invested more than 40,000 hours into this programme in a variety of touchpoints, including user studies, field testing, feedback and assessments, according to Siter. This includes the third in a series of four comprehensive large-scale tests scheduled at pivotal junctures in the 28-month programme. 

During the latest event at Fort Pickett in Virginia, participants from the 82nd Airborne Division and a contingent of marines conducted company-size training exercises using the first militarised prototype of IVAS. Events included land navigation, live fire, mission planning, rapid target acquisition, trench clearing, after action review using augmented reality, and more.

Siter says the feedback received from tests such as this has been used to make important changes to IVAS. For example, the field of view in both width and height were increased based on user feedback.

She continues: “We were designing with greater distance in mind when they told us early on that the distance was more than sufficient and we needed to focus on the field of view. That’s one of many examples. Soldiers shaped the very design of it early on, including things like the location and positioning of controls.”

THE FULL VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE ON THE US ARMY AND IVAS WILL FEATURE IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF VRWORLDTECH MAGAZINE, PUBLISHED ON 30 NOVEMBER. SUBSCRIBE NOW TO RECEIVE THE DIGITAL PUBLICATION FOR FREE

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