Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 299–308 | Cite as

The case for reconfigurable hardware in wearable computing

  • Christian PlesslEmail author
  • Rolf Enzler
  • Herbert Walder
  • Jan Beutel
  • Marco Platzner
  • Lothar Thiele
  • Gerhard Tröster
Original Article


Wearable computers are embedded into the mobile environment of their users. A design challenge for wearable systems is to combine the high performance required for tasks such as video decoding with the low energy consumption required to maximise battery runtimes and the flexibility demanded by the dynamics of the environment and the applications. In this paper, we demonstrate that reconfigurable hardware technology is able to answer this challenge. We present the concept and the prototype implementation of an autonomous wearable unit with reconfigurable modules (WURM). We discuss experiments that show the uses of reconfigurable hardware in WURM: ASICs-on-demand and adaptive interfaces. Finally, we present an experiment with an operating system layer for WURM.


Body area computing system Embedded systems Field-programmable gate arrays Reconfigurable hardware Wearable computing 



This work is being carried out in cooperation with the Wearable Computing Laboratory at ETH Zurich and is supported by ETH Zurich (Wearable Computing) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (NCCR MICS).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Plessl
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rolf Enzler
    • 2
  • Herbert Walder
    • 1
  • Jan Beutel
    • 1
  • Marco Platzner
    • 1
  • Lothar Thiele
    • 1
  • Gerhard Tröster
    • 2
  1. 1.ETH Zentrum Office ETZ-G81Computer Engineering and Networks Lab (TIK)ZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Electronics LaboratorySwiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) ZurichSwitzerland

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