Last month we learned that Google Glass, Google’s augmented-reality glasses that threaten to turn the whole world into an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” will go on sale to developers early next year for the whopping price of $1,500. Needless to say, everyone from tech innovators to the average Joe is anxious to get his hands on what will probably be the most futuristic invention since the cell phone.
But one man has already been wearing futuristic computer-glasses for decades. His name is Steve Mann, pictured below, and he is the inventor of computer glasses. He’s been wearing them and using them in day-to-day life for 34 years. And when I say day-to-day, I do mean every day—unlike Google Glass, Mann’s glasses are physically attached to his head and “does not come off my skull without special tools,” Mann says.
Mashable reports the first incident of what we can only anticipate calling Google Glass-mania: Mann was at McDonald’s in Paris on Champs Elysees (incidentally the highest-grossing McDonald’s in the world) when someone, apparently thinking he was wearing a Google prototype, attacked him and tried to rip the glasses off his head.
Of course, since the person didn’t have “special tools” he failed at removing them. Even crazier: the perpetrator was then aided by two other perps, both perplexed at the glasses not coming off, one of whom was apparently a McDonald’s employee.
Unlike Google Glass, which augments users’ field of vision with information about their surroundings, Mann’s computer glasses were built to improve vision for seeing impaired. In processing the visual data in front of him, Mann’s glasses took pictures of the attackers. You can see them at Mann’s blog.
The moral of the story: If you decide to jump in on the first generation of Google Glasses, keep one eye on your augmented reality and one looking over your shoulder.