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The progress in hardware technologies for implementing portable, low power and low cost electronic systems for consumer products has been major the last years. The complexity of embedded systems will further increase at a rate which is not met by the development of advanced CAD tools for managing the large design space. This will likely lead to increased design problems regarding system implementation, test and verification. In the next 15-20 years, it is likely that the consumer products are based on computing devices which are grouped together in networks including thousands or even millions of nodes. The /ETHER project deals with managing the complexity of such systems based on emerging technologies for future applications. This paper presents how the design complexity can be managed at the hardware level by integrating self-adaptive characteristics, and how the trade-off in performance and flexibility can be optimized to fulfill all application requirements while reducing the design complexity.