The U.S. Army’s IVAS HoloLens Headsets Are Giving Testers Nausea

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IVAS Cold Region Test Center, Alaska

Recently the U.S .Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) was successfully tested that they have begun accepting deliveries for use in some units. But in what could be a big setback for the US$22 billion, testers get nauseous and experience vomiting, leading to worries that soldiers may get killed when using the headsets.

In a report compiled by the Pentagon Testing office and seen by Bloomberg, testers suffered nausea, eyestrain and headaches during use of the IVAS. Nickolas Guertin, director of Operation Test and Evaluation, in a summary for Army and Defense Department officials said that after using the headset for less than three hours over 80% of the soldiers experienced symptoms.

The tests that report is based on are part of a "Soldier Touch Point" program. This is a feedback program to help Microsoft further refine the IVAS.

Other mentioned concerns were about the bulk which adds further weight strain on the neck, a limited field of view and the glow of the display that could compromise the position of a soldier at distances. In a report by the Insider, the IVAS failed in four out of six tests and that there are failures in the essential features in the system that take up is low.

The IVAS is based on the Microsoft Hololens tech and its development for use in the battlefield, it can show real-time battlefield information such as enemy and friendly locations and navigation information. It also has high-resolution night and thermal vision. There are other features that can be used with the system off the field such as logistics, medical, and maintenance.

According to Insider, the U.S. Army has been modifying plans to “correct deficiencies”, as they believe that the IVAS design is deeply flawed and would work on realizing the full potential for use in 21st century warfare which will be more information intensive and network-centric.

IVAS Fort Pickett

Latest prototype of the IVAS during training at Fort Pickett (Courtney Bacon/Soldier Lethality CFT)

With such issues and concern, it may take some time for the IVAS to be certified as fully fit for use in combat.


Top photo: IVAS at the Cold Region Test Center, Alaska in March 2021 (Photo by: Courtney Bacon/DVIDS)

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