Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Cyborg' Allegedly Attacked over Camera Implants

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Cyborg' Allegedly Attacked over Camera Implants

Article excerpt

"Parts of me started shutting down," says professor and self- proclaimed cyborg after an alleged assault at a McDonald's in Paris.

Earlier this month, human cyborg and University of Toronto professor Steve Mann, claims he was attacked and kicked out of a Paris McDonald's after employees objected to his headset and its ability to record photos and videos of his experiences.

"I'm not sure why the perpetrators attacked, but 'Perp. 1' [Mann's name for one of his assailants] did mention about cameras not being allowed," he told us in an exclusive email interview. Mann was unavailable for a phone call because his iPhone was also damaged in the alleged attack.

Though augmented reality headsets like Google's Project Glass have just started making headlines this year, Mann has been wearing his own home-brewed "EyeTap Digital Glass" computers every day since the early 1980s. The current generation EyeTap, which runs on customized WearComp OS, captures images at 120 frames per second in 1080 x 1920 resolution, but according to Mann, these images aren't stored permanently.

"It merely delays rather than records, but when [the computer was] damaged the leftovers were recovered," he said. "In this sense Perp 1 [the person who allegedly assaulted Mann] was the person who took all the pictures in the last hour or so, by causing the computer to be broken."

Mann told us that on July 1st, he, his wife, and their two children were in line to purchase food at the Paris McDonald's when an employee approached and informed them that cameras were not allowed in the establishment. After Mann presented the employee with a doctor's note he carries with him that states he needs to wear his headgear, the employee let him through and a cashier took his order.

According to Mann, after he and his family had received their food and taken a seat by the entrance, another McDonald's employee, whom Mann refers to as Perpetrator 1, approached and angrily tried to pull the EyeTap, which is permanently attached and cannot be removed without tools, off of his head.

"Perp. 1 reached his left hand out and pressed against the frame of my eyeglass, and swung his left hand around a few times pushing and pulling at it," he told us.

Mann then tried to calm Perpetrator 1 and showed him his doctor's note, which the employee showed to two coworkers, whom Mann nicknames Perpetrators 2 and 3. After Perpetrator 2 crumpled up his doctor's note and Perpetrator 1 tore up some other documentation he provided, Perpetrator 1 then allegedly pushed him out the door and onto the street, damaging his gear.

"My Glass started acting a little erratic but I could still see to some degree, but with crosshatches and kind of a freeze-frame like motion as the Eye Glass stopped and started intermittently," Mann said. The alleged assault apparently loosened a ribbon cable within the device and, causing the eye piece to malfunction and flood Mann's eye with laser light. …

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