WHO KNEW THE US ARMY IS A FAN OF BLACK MIRROR? Well, that's the impression we get given American's military plans to use Microsoft's HoloLens mixed reality goggles in combat missions.
According to Bloomberg, a $480m contract with Redmond will see the US Army take the HoloLens out of the military training environment where the MR headset has been used before and into war.
"Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area," Microsoft said to Bloomberg in a statement.
Redmond didn't go into detail with how HoloLens will provide such information, though we'd hazard a guess it would provide things like threat identification, real-time mission and moment updates, and mapping information, but that's probably because we've watched a few too many near-future military movies and TV.
The US Army, on the other hand, reckons the tech could turn its grunts into bona fide badass killers, noting the HoloLens could "increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy".
Thus far the HoloLens hasn't seen widespread use. With no consumer-grade units created and developer kits being sold for a hefty $3,000 to $5,000, it's no surprise that a mere 50,000 or so headsets have been sold for use in rather niche situations like training NASA astronauts.
But the US Army is vast so equipping even a small part of it with HoloLens could see the MR goggles get a heck more use.
It all sounds pretty cool if we're being honest and probably quite a slick use of the HoloLens, though we doubt people who wan to see tehc used for good would agree.
That being said the HoloLens is reliant on a mixed reality version of Windows 10, and given that's been taking a trip through update borksville lately, we can envision a sniper about to take a shot aided by HoloLens data only for Clippy to pop up and ask said military member if they'd rather shoot that innocent civilian. µ
We should be shocked, but...
But the search giant has now squashed the bug
But it's not yet available here in Blighty