An American man has been admitted into the US Navy's substance abuse programme after showing signs of addiction to Google Glass.
According to doctors at the Substance Abuse and Recovery Programme (SARP), the 31-year-old man, who was previously treated for alcoholism, wore Google's smart headset for up to 18 hours a day, and reported feeling irritable and aggressive when stripped of the wearable technology.
The doctors diagnosed the man with Internet addiction disorder and subjected him to a strict Internet detox regime, removing not only the Google Glass but also all other electronic devices from him.
The case, allegedly the first of the kind, has been described in the journal Addictive Behaviours.
Describing the patient’s withdrawal symptoms, the doctors said they observed a "notable, nearly involuntary movement of the right hand up to (the patient's) temple area and tapping it with his forefinger", which is the action used to activate and navigate around the device, which can also be controlled by voice command.
The man also reported that on occasions during his treatment his dreams involved him seeing the world through the Glass's small screen.
According to Andrew Doan, co-author of the paper and head of SARP, the patient's extended use of the device had created a neurological link between use and reward.
"There's nothing inherently bad about Google Glass, it's just that there is very little time between these rushes. So for an individual who's looking to escape, for an individual who has underlying mental dysregulation, for people with a predisposition for addiction, technology provides a very convenient way to access these rushes."
The patient, who was exposed to Google Glass as part of his job with the US Navy where he used the device to maintain vehicle inventory, was previously diagnosed with a mood disorder and an obsessive compulsive disorder and was thus susceptible to develop an addiction.
"The danger with wearable technology is that you're allowed to be almost constantly in the closet, while appearing like you're present in the moment," Doan said.
The patient completed a 35-day treatment, which saw his symptoms easing.
Google Glass, still only available in a beta version and not as a final consumer product, allows users to see information displayed on a small screen in their peripheral vision. It integrates most of the functions commonly available in modern smartphones and offers some additional capabilities.
The aim of Google Glass is to give users everything on screen without the need to take their phones out of their pockets.
Google declined to comment on the report.