Augmented reality pioneer Steve Mann visited a McDonald’s in Paris with his family earlier this month when he was assaulted by employees. Mann was wearing EyeTap, a system that is physically installed in his skull, records photos and video, and displays augmented reality data. The McDonald’s employees tried to tear the glasses out from Mann’s head.
Mann is a tenured professor at the University of Toronto experimenting in the realm of wearable computing for the past few years.
Three of the McDonald’s employees approached Mann after he ordered. One was wearing a McDonald’s t-shirt while the other two were in plain clothing.
Mann carries documentation from his doctor that states that the EyeTap cannot be removed without special tools. Mann offered the special documentation to the employees, but they still assaulted him and eventually kicked him out of the restaurant.
Man wrote about the attack.
Subsequently another person within McDonalds physically assaulted me, while I was in McDonand’s, eating my McDonand’s Ranch Wrap that I had just purchased at this McDonald’s. He angrily grabbed my eyeglass, and tried to pull it off my head.
The eyeglass is permanently attached and does not come off my skull without special tools.I tried to calm him down and I showed him the letter from my doctor and the documentation I had brought with me.
He (who I will refer to as Perpetrator 1) then brought me to two other persons. He was standing in the middle, right in front of me, and there was another person to my left seated at a table (who I will refer to as Perpetrator 2), and a third person to my right.
The third person (who I will refer to as Perpetrator 3) was holding a broom and dustpan, and wearing a shirt with a McDonald’s logo on it. The person in the center (Perpetrator 1) handed the materials I had given him to the person to my left (Perpetrator 2), while the three of them reviewed my doctor’s letter and the documentation.
After all three of them reviewed this material, and deliberated on it for some time, Perpetrator 2 angrily crumpled and ripped up the letter from my doctor. My other documentation was also destroyed by Perpetrator 1.
Ray Kurzweil, a well-known futurist, called this incident the first attack on a cyborg – human and machine – in history.
McDonald’s responded to Mann with the following statement:
We share the concern regarding Dr. Mann’s account of his July 1 visit to a McDonald’s in Paris. McDonald’s France was made aware of Dr. Mann’s complaints on July 16, and immediately launched a thorough investigation. The McDonald’s France team has contacted Dr. Mann and is awaiting further information from him.
In addition, several staff members involved have been interviewed individually, and all independently and consistently expressed that their interaction with Dr. Mann was polite and did not involve a physical altercation. Our crew members and restaurant security staff have informed us that they did not damage any of Mr. Mann’s personal possessions.
While we continue to learn more about the situation, we are hearing from customers who have questions about what happened. We urge everyone not to speculate or jump to conclusions before all the facts are known. Our goal is to provide a welcoming environment and stellar service to McDonald’s customers around the world.