As I've noted, software defined peripherals has been done before, by at least Scenix/Ubicomm (bankrupt), Parallax Propellar, and the XMOS chips. If you wanted to stretch a bit, you could include TI's PRU (featured in the BeagleBone) and the Cyprus PSoC's (programmable analog peripherals).
Another comment: parallel programming is still hard, whether it's cooperating virtual Arduinos or cooperating PLC tasks (side story: I recently realized we had some deadlocks in some structured text PLC code involving a couple of separate cooperating programs. It escaped dedication because it doesn't show up under normal circumstances...)
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