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There are vertex shaders, which can alter the geometry of a 3d object, and there are texture shaders, that alter the appearance of one, essentially 2D, face of a model. Pixel Bender is the later.
I haven't tried it yet, but you should be able to use the new 3D features of Flash10 for geometry and use Pixel Bender for procedural texturing of the faces of a model.
As Joe says, Pixel Bender is a texture (or fragment) shader working on a single, rectangular polygon. You have a couple of choices for rendering a 3D surface - one is to render that rectangular polygon using Pixel Bender, then display it using some other 3D display system, the other is to do your 3D modelling inside Pixel Bender as well. There's an extremely cool ray tracing filter that illustrates this technique here:
Thanks Joe, Bob, for the quick reply ! I'll check out the new features and techniques you suggested.