This sounds like a fantastic idea! But I'm concerned that it might require a complete rewrite of the Minecraft engine from scratch to do. And a complete rewrite (or even a major change to the code like this) will almost certainly throw off all the current redstone timings and break lots of stuff.
I'd love to give it overwhelming support, but I'd hate to see them break Minecraft. So I don't know what to say...
95% of teens would scream if Justin Beiber was about to jump of the top of the Empire State Building. If you are in the 5% that would grab a seat and some popcorn and yell JUMP! JUMP! JUMP! post this into your sig.
I don't know if anyone noticed, but I stated at a footnote in the OP that I would be following and answering any questions here... Which only happened for a week or two before I left minecraft, leaving all the work for my supporters. Sorry guys.
Happily I found this again, passed almost 2 years (It's still at google #1 response for "piston mechanics"), and now it urgently needs to be updated. Well, with all this amazing support from the community, maybe we can still be able to get it implemented into the game. So I'm back now and I'll do my best to be here every week.
By the way, the super pistons some people are posting about were only a proof-of-concept (made with my permission!). Remember that the idea here is to actually bring it to vanilla minecraft, not as mod.
mojang then might have to make a new state for these child blocks as 'rooted' or 'stuck' to the block that they are on to update the blocks to move wherever the block that they are on moves. Nevertheless, support