While visiting a McDonald’s in Paris, France, Canadian university professor Steve Mann was assaulted by employees when they discovered his “wearable computer” was recording everything around him.
Mann, known as the father of wearable computing, was on vacation with his family in France when three McDonald’s employees assaulted him. They took umbrage with his Digital Eye Glass mounted over his face. The employees forcibly tried to remove the electronic gear off his head while trying to kick him out of the fast food restaurant.
Mann’s Eye Glass resembles the Google Glass-prototype, where one half of Mann’s depth perception is augmented reality and the other half is plain-old reality. He even has a doctor’s documentation for wearing these digital eyeglasses. The incident, which took place on July 16th, was documented and photographed by the Eye Glass and later on Mann’s blog.
Mann was on vacation with his family on Avenue Champs Elysees in Paris when they wanted to take a break and eat at a local McDonald’s. Mann’s daughter wanted to have the exchange with the McDonald’s cashier to practice her French. When they received their food, a man wearing a shirt and tie physically tried to take Mann’s eyewear off his face, which is permanently attached to his skull and doesn’t easily come off without special tools.
Two other men, one of whom was carrying a broom while wearing a McDonald’s T-shirt, later joined him in the assault. Mann gave the men his doctor’s letter for the Eye Glass but they ripped and crumbled it up. The tie wearing McDonald’s employee, probably the store manager, pushed Mann out of the restaurant while he quickly turned around his name badge so Mann couldn’t see it.
The computer on Mann’s face was damaged but not before it saved everything that happened and uploaded it to the Internet. Mann later contacted the police but, as he puts it, “did not receive much help from them.” Mann wants McDonald’s to pay for the repair of his broken Eye Glass.
There is already a swelling of support for Steve Mann on the Internet from Reddit and other tech enthusiasts.
McDonald’s addressed the incident in France and states their company “[takes] the claims and feedback of our customers very seriously. We are in the process of gathering information about this situation and we ask for patience until all of the facts are known.”