Chris O'Shea of Pixelsumo also points us to Brian Crabtree's untitled box / mlr. The interface uses a grid of LCDs to display samples. (see video)
At first, it looks like he's triggering a zillion different samples,
but in fact there are only as many samples as there are rows: the LEDs
advance along the row's additional LCDs to show loop points, so this is
especially nice for jumping to the center of a loop.
Brian uses Max/MSP, but Ableton Live, sampling programs, and the like would be strong candidates, too.
Interesting concept, though I'm not sure this is the most
space-efficient way of triggering samples. As Chris points out, rather
than wait for Brian to get a manufacturer, or M-Audio to build what you
want, you can always build your own box a la Midibox.
So what do you think: is the future communities of DIY musicians, or
will there be a killer commercial hardware toy? (Somehow, don't think
this one is it, but who knows what's next?)