Threr is such thing as Milgram’s Reality-Virtuality Continuum
Milgram’s continuum shows progress of interface from raw environment to completely synthetic environment.
It looks like it’s possible to add another dimension to this picture. There exists a concept of “Tangible Space” in AR. “Tangible Space” basically mean that user can interact with real-world objects and those actions affect virtual environment. For example AR game which use real world objects as part of gameplay, track positions and any changes of state of those objects. Essentially “Tangible Space” is virtual wrapping around real-world interaction.
However that line of thought could be stretched beyond augmented reality. In the “Tangible Space” real-world interaction affect virtual environment. What if virtual interaction affect real-world environment? In that case we would have “Intelligent Space”, or iSpace.
Based on DIND – Distributed Intelligent Networked Device. iSpace is an augmented(or virtual) reality environment “augmented” with mobile robots and/or other actuators. Intelligent network now not only track physical environment, but also actively interact with it using physical agents. If Augmented Reality is an extension of eye, Intelligent Space is an extension of both eye and hands. Not only real environment is a part of interface now(as in “Tangible Space”) , it now actively help human to perform some task, and also should guess how to do it. Human and robots are now integrated system, something like distributed exoskeleton.
Now we have a new dimension for Milgram’s Continuum:
Passive View of Real Environment->Augmented Reality->Tangible Space->Intelligent Space
If you remember Vernor Vinge’s “Rainbow Ends”, the enviroment in it not just an Augmented Reality – it’s an Intelligent Space
Slashdot report Samsung showed prototype of colored E-paper based on the carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes used as underlying electrodes, they are completly transparent and very thin. So we may be more close to AR holy grail – working active matrix contact lenses(Vinge’s Rainbow Ends anyone ?. Or at least good enough transperent see-through display glasses.