Steve Mann, a professor and technologist who has worn computing devices of some kind for the last 34 years, recently found himself in a pretty dangerous spot at a McDonald’s in Paris. Apparently freaked out that Mann had a camera, a group of three men (shown above) physically assaulted him. “He angrily grabbed my eyeglass, and tried to pull it off my head,” Mann explained in a blog post. “The eyeglass is permanently attached and does not come off my skull without special tools.” Due to the attack, the camera was damaged and started taking and storing photos of what he was viewing, giving him an opportunity to show photos of who was behind the attack. Since the post went up yesterday, Reddit has banded around Mann and TechCrunch called for a boycott of McDonald’s. Seriously. Mann suggests that McDonald’s might be the one that has to change: “As this technology becomes mainstream, McDonald’s might need to get used to it.” io9 called this a “cybernetic hate crime.” Is it?
What the hell?
Professor Mann (as I knew him at UofT) is a bit of an oddball. However, he’s that wonderful mix of hardcore engineer and flighty creative. I remember being around the student lounge when he was testing out a “water flute” designed to allow children (and the disabled) to play music by blocking or uncovering holes where water comes out of a big donut-shaped tube.
I have no idea what these fucking possible employees thought they were accomplishing. I’ve never known the guy to be anything but selfless in his thoughts. I’m sure if they had asked him to relocate in the restaurant, he would have (not that he should have).
It’s weird seeing something like this happen to someone I actually know. I feel terrible for the guy.
Also, you should have seen when his wearable computing was in its infancy. He had the equivalent of a PC mini-tower hanging off of him.