Next-Gen Army Display Fights the Coronavirus

The mixed reality device provides soldiers with instant access to information — such as temperature spikes.

The time-honored tradition of GI Joe — that “knowing is half the battle” — continues to ring true.

At least this appears to be one of the factors driving the development of the Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System heads-up display.

Based on Microsoft’s HoloLens technology, the mixed reality display is being developed to help provide soldiers with real-time access to data and tools such as night vision, language translation, video and image capture, maps and other intelligence.

Recently, the team developing the IVAS realized that its digital thermal sensors, which were originally designed to detect enemies in the dark, could be repurposed to spot temperature spikes – like those experienced by individuals running a fever.

The necessary software modifications were made, and IVAS prototypes were shipped to Fort Benning, Ga. The devices can scan and display the forehead and inner eye temperature of others in about 6 seconds as a way of detecting soldiers who might be infected with the coronavirus. 

Soldiers are being scanned before they head out for training. If a high temperature is detected, the soldier is pulled aside and examined as a precaution.

While the IVAS are currently playing a key role in combating COVID-19 spread, the Army hopes to get them on more traditional battlefields by next summer.

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