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Wearable computers are embedded into the mobile environment of the human body. A design challenge for wearable systems is to combine the high performance required for tasks such as video decoding with low energy consumption required to maximize 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 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.