I am working on a separate project - to make self contained quadrature encoders with a led ring around them for level indication. I hope to make the encoders with only an I2S interface or similar, to minimize the number of necessary connections. At the moment, I intend to use an PIC18F mcu for each dial. It would also be possible to add a digitally controlled potmeter, to make the whole package a drop-in replacement for a normal potmeter.
Anyway, here are some examples of what the dials may look like:
There are a few obstacles before I can make these though, one of them being the ability to solder surface mounted components. I also need to add a bootstrap program to the mcu's to make them in-circuit programmable.