This paper introduces the Perplexus hardware platform, a scalable computing substrate made of custom reconfigurable devices endowed with bio-inspired capabilities. This platform will enable the simulation of large-scale complex systems and the study of emergent complex behaviors in a virtually unbounded wireless network of computing modules. The modularity and flexibility of the platform are the key for tackling the diverse hardware setup needs of the different applications, mainly in the form of a pervasive distributed computing platform and a bio-inspired chip architecture. The Perplexus platform will provide a novel modeling framework thanks to the pervasive nature of the hardware platform, its bio-inspired capabilities, its strong interaction with the environment, and its dynamic topology. The final infrastructure will be used as a simulation tool for three applications: neurobiological modeling, culture dissemination modeling, and cooperative collective robotics.