McDonald’s Denies Staff Assaulted Augmented Reality Pioneer Dr. Steve Mann

By now you probably heard of Dr. Steve Mann and his altercation in a Parisian McDonald’s. He alleges that several McDonald’s staffers forcibly tried to remove the augmented reality eyepiece that’s essentially permanently installed into his skull. Well, McDonald’s just released a statement denying Dr. Mann’s claims. While McDonald’s acknowledges staff inquired about the device, the company insists “their interaction with Dr. Mann was polite and did not involve a physical altercation.”

McDonald’s statement via KurzweilAl,

“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.”

– McDonald’s

At this point it’s rather hard to say which party is in the wrong here. There isn’t any video of the incident. That said, Dr. Mann’s EyeTap head-mounted display happened to catch and store several telling images of staffers getting up close and personal.

This isn’t the first time a McDonald’s defended wrongdoing in a Parisian location. Last August a McD’s staffer allegedly assaulted an American traveler for taking a picture of the menu board and, incidentally, the employee as well. At the time McDonald’s denied the physical confrontation and later told CBS it was “unfortunate misunderstanding” made worse because of a language barrier.

This incident does raise concerns about the future of wearable displays, though. The rights of others is equally important as the rights of the wearer. Google Glass and its eventual clones will make video recording trivial and almost invisible. Some people simply do not want to be part of a random life blog.