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Top United States Army officials have recently had the opportunity to test out the Microsoft based smart soldier glasses. Acting secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, and James McConville, the incoming Army Chief of Staff, recently travelled to Fort Pickett in Virginia to test early prototypes of IVAS, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System. 

Microsoft has been awarded a $480 million contract to develop IVAS for the United States Army. The high-tech device utilizes augmented reality in order to put soldiers in a synthetic training environment. Aside from training, the system may also be intended to be worn out in the field to increase situational awareness. There are also plans to synchronize IVAS with the military’s Next Generation Squad Weapon, allowing for the weapons aiming sights to be displayed via augmented reality.

When it comes to training, IVAS could possibly even double as a consumer product for hardcore first person shooting game fans. McCarthy described how IVAS displayed ISIS and Taliban looking targets in empty rooms. “I literally came in a room… and they looked like Taliban targets and ISIS guys… It looked like a very good video game.”

The system can even manage to generate hostages and civilians.

IVAS can help the Army by allowing soldiers to run the same combat scenario several times in a cost efficient manner. All this can be done anywhere, eliminating the need to travel to training facilities. 

IVAS also collects data from the training exercises, showing commanders and soldiers where they need to improve.

Army and Marine Corps soldiers also had the opportunity to test out IVAS. Not surprisingly, they too appreciated the technology. 

Military.com reports that IVAS replaces the Heads-Up Display 3.0 effort, and is expected to complete its prototype phase by 2020. It is still unclear when the technology will become standard.