The Army is using a prototype of its future augmented reality headset to test soldiers’ temperatures at Ft. Benning in Georgia in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The service said Monday it asked Microsoft

[MSFT], which is producing the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), to provide a version of the device that could utilize its thermal sensors to detect fevers.

Soldiers at Ft. Benning in Georgia use a prototype IVAS system to test temperatures for fevers. (Photo: U.S. Army)

“That’s the genius of this system; we can use this technology today to fight the virus, even as we shape it into the combat system our soldiers need tomorrow. This shows the extensibility of the IVAS technology and the system,” Brig. Gen. Tony Potts, head of Program Executive Office-Soldier, said in a statement. “While we’re maintaining momentum in pursuit of modernization, we have to keep in mind that readiness today is critical.”

The Army was able to test 300 soldiers’ temperatures in 30 minutes using the repurposed version of the system at Ft. Benning, a critical training installation and home to the Army Ranger School. 

The update arrives after the Army confirmed last week it does not expect the pandemic to delay IVAS fielding, with plans to meet its original first unit equipped date for late fiscal year 2021 (Defense Daily, April 22). 

“A week ago, we were talking about the potential impacts of the pandemic on the IVAS program. Today we’re talking about the potential impacts of IVAS on the pandemic,” Brig. Gen. David Hodne, director of the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team, said in a statement.

The Army previously announced it has delayed the third soldier touchpoint event for IVAS from this summer to October, which will be the first time using the ruggedized, military form factor version of the headset.