Reconfigurable Hardware in Wearable Computing Nodes

[Download] (ISWC 2002)
Christian Plessl, Rolf Enzler, Herbert Walder, Jan Beutel, Marco Platzner, Lothar Thiele Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich , Switzerland

Wearable computers are embedded into the mobile envi-ronment of the human body. A design challenge for wear-able systems is to combine the high performance required for tasks such as video decoding with low energy consump-tion required to maximize battery runtimes and the flexibil-ity demanded by the dynamics of the environment and the applications. In this paper, we demonstrate that reconfigurable hard-ware 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 two experiments that show the uses of reconfigurable hardware in WURM: ASICs-on-demand and adaptive interfaces. Finally, we develop and evaluate task placement techniques used in the operating system layer of WURM.