McDonalds Employee Assaults Man with Digital Eye Glass

What is this world coming to when a person is assaulted because someone took offence to their medical prosthetic? That is essentially what happened when Dr. Steve Mann from Toronto, Ontario was on vacation with his family.

Dr. Mann uses a form of “wearable computing” known as an Eye Glass – a prosthetic Augmediated Reality device attached to his head that assists vision. He invented the technology, and while the cybernetic eyeglass-styled implant may seem out of place, he does carry documentation that justifies his use of the device.

But just last month, while on vacation in Paris, France, Dr Mann and his family entered a McDonald’s Restaurant to partake in some international McFood. He let his children practice their french and place their order. He was asked about the Eye Glass device and he provided his documentation. He was not challenged at all, and was served as any regular customer would have. It wasn’t until he was seated that he was approached by 3 staff members at the McDonald’s and was asked to explain the camera device on his face.

Dr Mann produced his documentation and was happy to share his life long work that has already assisted the visually impaired to see. After reviewing the documents, the alleged assailants tore up the papers and then one man, claiming to be a McDonald’s Employee (while concealing his name badge), attempted to grab the glasses off Dr Mann’s face.

The problem with this assault was not just the invasion of personal space, but rather the prosthetic device requires special tools to be removed – it is fully attached to Dr Mann’s head.

The Augmediated Reality device does not ‘record’ exactly, however as part of its imaging process it does contain a small buffer which is constantly overwritten. Fortunately for Dr Mann, when the device was damaged in the assault, the buffered imagery left him with a visual account of the assault, as no new data was being received to overwrite that clip of information. If it hadn’t been damaged, the images would not have been saved and he would have had no evidence of his encounter at all.

The sad part of this story is that the Paris Police did nothing to assist Dr Mann, and McDonalds in France have yet to respond to his contact.

Dr Mann is not attempting to extort McDonald’s over this incident, like someone with coffee that is too hot. He is, however, hoping they will cover the cost to repair his damaged Eye Glass device. He is also suggesting that McDonald’s may want to make a gesture to support Vision Research, and educate their staff on the visually impaired.

McDonald’s has had a longstanding policy against recording devices in their restaurants, fearing people may observe and duplicate trade secrets and procedures, however this seems very extreme. Did the manager have the right to confront Dr Mann about his Eye Glass? Absolutely. Did they have the right to damage his property? Not at all.

Makes you wonder how they might react when Google Glass becomes a reality?


58 Responses to McDonalds Employee Assaults Man with Digital Eye Glass

    • Its a broom and dustpan. You can see in his right hand the right part of the broom at the bottom of the photo.

  1. The first thing that came to my mind?
    "You're in Paris, one of the cuisine capitols of the world, what the hell are you doing in McDonalds?"

  2. How do you assault someone with digital eye glass? Do you throw it at them, or glare menacingly, or what?

    P.S.: The other side of the crash blossom: "Patrician Attacks Clerk With Knife (He had the knife, not the clerk)"

      • Not every french person is like these one you know… You find dumb/aggressive people everywhere, even in US or UK…

        • Right (un Français). What happens to mr Mann is a shame.
          If you want to know France, avoid Paris. There's a lot of nice little places everywhere.

        • "Not every french person is like these one you know… "
          No, just French McDonald's employees and French cops, so as long as you can avoid those you're safe.

          I'd advise the dear doctor to visit Denmark in the future.
          We are way more accepting of new things, and what we lack in wine, we more than make up for in beer.
          And the kids will love LegoLand. And our non-violent McDonald's.

        • It's like that song about the French police says:
          Some of those that work forces
          Are the same that eat horses!

      • Uh, then I suppose you'll never want to step foot in or will live the US given the number of crimes that occurred in McD's on this side of the pond. Let's see…there was the incident where a woman was video taped in the bathroom. Oh, and the time a transgendered person was physically assaulted in a McD's, or hey, that one time where another person was being assaulted in a McD's while the employees video taped it on the phones…Every country has their monsters and the US has their fair share of them.

      • Been to France twice and while the area outside of Paris the people are nice. The people of Paris by and large are very similar to the guy from the McDonalds. I've met nicer New Yorkers.

  3. "fearing people may observe and duplicate trade secrets and procedures"

    don't worry mcdonald, my dog could barf better food, imho of course U_U

  4. I agree that he should not have been assaulted.
    But this guy reeks of a walking publicity stunt waiting to happen. He wears a non-medical video capture device that requires a doctors note and special tools to remove? The only reason for the doctor and the special tools is to socially engineer the situation so that places where he would not normally be allowed (due to his video capture device) he would be permitted.

    Additionally, the device constantly overwrites its buffer to avoid being called a video capture device(how soon is the buffer overwritten?) but magically stops when "damaged" conveniently giving him pictures of the entire incident?
    If it seems to odd to be true, it often is. I have a feeling this case is just another of someone drumming up a cause to further their own agenda.

    • He wears a non-medical video capture device

      That's just it, though. It's *not* non-medical. It's certainly experimental in the extreme, but the device exists primarily for medical use, and the user carries documentation to that effect.

      • Yes but any man can walk in with papers that basically say "Hey, I need this to see, don't freak out" But that can't mean that action with such force should be taken.
        I am by all means on the Doc's side on this, however and I believe that he should be compensated for damages to his device and/or person.

    • i thought the exact same thing. if he is visually impaired what good would a video device be? I feel that it is invasive and creepy—this doesn't mean I am prejudiced against the visually impaired or any other medical problem.

      • The video device is a medical aid – think of it like a hearing aid for your eyes. It's no more invasive or creepy than *actual eyes*…

    • I came here to say the same thing. She suffered third degree burns on 6% of her body. She did not "extort" anything from McDonalds like this article implies she did.

      • No, it's pure extorting. If you order coffee and spill it on yourself, you should expect to get third degree burns. People regularly complain to coffee shops if their coffee is lukewarm. If you order a coffee, you know that it's hot. If you're too stupid to recognize this fact, and then you decide to sue because McDonald's failed to warn you the coffee was going to be hot, it's extortion. Third degree burns or not, McDonald's never forced her to buy that drink, or spill it on her. She did it herself, and then somehow won that stupid case. I'll repeat, if you need a warning label to tell you your morning cup of Joe is going to be hot, you're a waste of space on this planet. That's like ordering a hot chocolate without a 'caution hot' warning, and suing because it burned your tongue when you took a drink of it immediately. Blatant, egotistical, unbridled ignorance, and we let people get away with it.

        Also: 3rd degree burns on 6% of her body? Do you realize how pathetic that sounds? 60% is a tragedy, 6 % is a minor inconvenience.

        • No, it isn't.
          9% is a whole arm. On the inferior limbs, it is roughly one thigh per part.
          And those were THIRD DEGREE BURNS, that means: no way you will heal it.
          You will have scars, and not the "hey, look how cool looks this one!", but deturpating and possibly limiting your movements.
          That's for the medical part.

          for the "common sense" part, I would agree if it were a normal-temperature coffee. IF the previous link is correct in stating 180°F, maye you should put a notice.
          I'm having coffee every morning, either at home or outside, and I know that those coffee I could handle even without care (they will cause me a minor burn, at most). If I they were significantly hotter than usual, I would handle them differently ;)

        • Um, no. The machine was broken, they had been warned to take it out of service since it was dangerous, and failed to do so. And 6% might sound "pathetic" but you try it if that 6% is your GENITALS and then see what you think. And maybe you should go check on just what 3rd degree burns really means. A hot beverage should cause scalding, a 1st degree level burn….occasionally they might be severe enough to rate 2nd degree. Did you even read the above referenced article?

        • The woman who got the burns from her coffee was holding the coffee cup between her legs when she got burned, she was at fault for the burns. It's called Hot Coffee, to brew it, it has to get to over 200 degrees to boil water.

        • That does not prevent the coffee from having been too hot or the cup from having been too flimsy to hold a liquid that hot. There is a reason when you go to Starbucks that the cup is quite thick and served with an extra thick sleeve. You're just buying into the McDonald's propaganda machine; they spent millions of dollars to convince gullible people like you that it was some dingbat old woman who didn't know coffee was hot, nevermind that there were dozens of other people who had the exact same problem. Why don't you stop voicing your uniformed opinion and READ what actually happened.

        • There is a difference between wanting hot coffee, and wanting something that is dangerous to consume. McDonalds went above and beyond what is considered hot coffee. So really do some research man. You getting a bit of discomfort on your tongue, is different than becoming disfigured due to a company being cheap.

    • Well, I'll be danged! I actually learned something valuable from reading internet comments. I think that's a first. Thanks, DZ!

  5. The fact that it went as far as it did is sickening but that they did this to him with his children present is deeply disturbing.

  6. Even from McDonalds point of view, what "secrets" could he possibly obtain while seated in the restaurant that the fourteen year olds that work there couldn't have told him?! The staff that attacked him shouldn't just be fired, they should be prosecuted for assault. Of course, this is pretty standard behaviour when you visit France…

    • The "secrets" are the price fixing/adaptation that makes each McDonalds slightly different from each other.
      Either because the prices are different for the same products or because the product mix is modified.

      They do not want customers choose the best deal, nor do they want their competition to be able to adapt their prices competitively.

      This is what happens when food becomes a "commodity".

      And no it is not a "French" issue but a MacDonald Issue, just try to make pictures of their menus where you live.

    • It is an outdated policy for sure.

      Even the Big Mac Secret Sauce recipe has been online for years and just recently the executive chef at McDonalds (not sure why a title like that is required where they make generic barely edible foods) has a McDonalds branded educational video out that shows you how to make a Big Mac at home (its very tasty)

      Side note, its not relish mixed with Thousand Island Dressing.

    • They aren't actually and the staff have every right to ask you to stop using a phone or video camera if they think you are videoing them or the store. this is because the store counts as private property and you need permission to video on someone else's private property. Also it can be classed as an invasion of privacy of the store workers themselves.
      That being said this kind of attack is completely inappropriate and the people responsible should be fired and the police should charge them with assault and damage of property.
      I sincerely hope that McDonalds do pay to replace his Prosthetic and make a donation to his foundation as a sign of apology.

  7. the hot coffee comment was not classy. look up the case and the documentary that explains how it was a case of corporate defamation that made us all laugh in the first place.

    • Have. And I still do.

      Yes, the coffee was hot, and yes it burned her. But HOW it burned her was entirely her fault. The coffee cup was never intended to be stored that way (between a driver's moving legs) and the coffee was never intended to be applied to the skin directly. There was even a warning on the cup reminding its purchaser that it was hot and required caution. (urban myth says the warning came after this incident but it has always been there)

      She simply made a much bigger deal out of it, accused McDonalds of the blame while it was entirely her own fault the coffee burned her. By her logic, purchasing a sharp knife could be described as "too sharp" if it cuts you. But she won, settled and is likely still enjoying the money it got her.

      • If you'd actually seen the movie, you'd know she wasn't the driver, and the car wasn't moving when it was spilled. And no, she's not enjoying the money. She only got $640,000 after the judge reduced it, and it was barely enough to pay for her medical bills.

  8. i'm sorry but regardless of what 'threat' they thought they were facing (and lets face it, as the above posters pointed out there's very little to be garnered from the eating area at McDonalds that you couldn't just snap with your phone or whatever…) they still had NO right to attack that man.
    Use the police if you are worried, that's what they are there for but its not okay to take things into your own hands based on your paranoia.

    How my skin did crawl when I read that they tried to pull it from his face.. to which its attached.. can you imagine the pain? And in front of his children? No. Just No.

  9. They were within their rights to ask him to leave, and if he did not comply they had the right to call law enforcement to remove him.

    They had no right to assault this man or damage his property. Period.

    Amazing how this crap doesn't happen in areas that allow concealed carry.

  10. I think the behavior of the McD staff is just inappropriate from any way you look at it.
    Yes, it probablly is a "restaurant" policy to not use a recording device while you're ordering your food, but if I remember correctly, he wasn't even ordering the food himself, it was his children that were ordering the food.
    Couldn't the staff just ask him to walk away from the counter? I'm pretty sure there are tons of different ways of handling this, but physically assaulting a customer is just way too much. Not only the staff has to be held responsible, but McD itself should take a look at their policies and if it anywhere states that "physicall force should be employed if a customer does not contribute to comply with the policies, then they need to make some necessary adjustments.

  11. The assault itself is just another good reason not to go to McDonalds (like we really need another one). The fact that the Paris police aren't doing anything about it is a great reason TO NEVER GO TO FRANCE!!!

  12. This is appaling to say the least, I can only imagine how horrible it would've been for him.
    Also in responce to comments:
    I doubt itwas attached to his head so that he could "socially engineer the situation" but more likely so it didn't fall off if he say bend over to pick something up or constantly wobble, therefore giving him a clear and steady image all the time.
    Judging by the look of the device the buffer would've been on a loop that constantly overwrites itself and likely to have been only about a minute or so per loop, so as not to be an actual recording which would use a lot of space to store said visual data. It would "magically stop when damaged" because there is no longer overwriting data to erase what was perviously on the loop so a few images would be left. If you read the link to the article someone commented with it states "McDonald's own quality assurance manager testified that the coffee was not safe for human consumption and that the company should have lowered the temperature but didn't want to." This means that McDonalds have admitted to being negligent which means she has an extremely good basis to make a claim.

  13. Hot coffee should give a first degree burn, maybe a second degree burn, but not a third degree burn. It should be a burn that is capable of healing. Not one that destroys the flesh on your thighs and genitals. Stop using a non-frivolous lawsuit as the poster child example of frivolous lawsuits.

  14. The idea that you compare taking legal action to extortion is just plain and simply retarded. In the instance of the coffee that was hot. It wasn't simply the fact that the coffee was hot, it was dangerously hot. McDonalds at the time was using ultra cheap coffee and was heating it up beyond a reasonable amount to hide the fact that it tasted like ass. Do a bit of research if you're going to consider yourself a "journalist."

  15. Dr. Steve Mann is starting to sound like a trouble maker. I've met him on the streets of Toronto, and he is eccentric to say the least. When I met him, he was actively demonstrating his wearable Funtain (fountain without the 'o'). I was on my break from work one evening when I noticed a man wearing a contraption around his waist; peaceful music was emanating from it. It is a device similar to a flute, but instead of air travelling through it, it uses water. In 2001, (after September 11), he was caught at an airport for having a device implanted in his body. They extracted it, and there was an article very similar to this one where he complains that he is being assaulted for merely wearing one of his devices. It seems to me that people don't notice him and his wearable devices as much as he would like so he creates controversy.