The AudioPint project at MIT aims at creating a computer based system that is as portable and stable as hardware gear:
Consider a system that is small, lightweight, tough, able to be powered up, plugged in, and it used immediately – but with sounds that can be controlled by any computer-compatible input device, opening wide the space of expressive possibilities. Devices supported include midi controllers, joysticks, mice, touchpads, or any other custom controller that can connect to a computer!
The AudioPint vision is to build a portable, durable, and inexpensive sound synthesis and effects system that is based completely on free open-source software, is flexibly reconfigurable and easy to use, and that is capable of accepting a diverse range of input devices for control purposes.
It reminds a little about the idea behind PLORK, although this is taking it one step furter.