Summer in Paris -- you can't walk a block on Champs-Élysées without locking eyes with at least one camera-equipped tourist. But Steve Mann's shooter wasn't dangling from his shoulder and neck; it was mounted on his head, with a design strikingly similar to Google's Project Glass. Unlike that mainstream Mountain View product, however, Mann's version has reportedly been around in one form or another for 34 years, and was designed with the objective of aiding vision, rather than capturing stills and video or providing a bounty of database-aided readouts. It's also street-ready today. While on vacation with his family, the Ontario-based "father of wearable computing" was sporting his EyeTap as he walked down the aforementioned French avenue, eventually entering a McDonald's to refuel after a busy day of sightseeing. He left without his ranch wrap, but with seriously damaged hardware.
What allegedly occurred inside the restaurant is no doubt a result of the increasing presence and subsequent awareness of connected cameras, ranging from consumer gear to professional surveillance equipment. As Mann sat to eat, he writes that a stranger approached him then attempted to pull off his glasses, which, oddly, are permanently affixed to his skull. The man, at that point joined by one other patron and someone that appeared to be a McDonald's employee, then pushed Mann out of the store and onto the street. As a result of the attack, the eyewear malfunctioned, resulting in the three men being photographed. It wouldn't be terribly difficult for police to identify those involved, but this encounter may have greater implications. McDonalds has since launched an investigation into the matter and seems to be denying most of the claims, but it'll be some time yet before the full truth is uncovered. Still, the whole ordeal got us at Engadget thinking -- is the planet ready for humans to wear video recorders, and will it ever shake a general unease related to the threat of a world filled with omnipresent cameras? Join us past the break for our take.Permalink | | Email this | Comments