Published on Jan 23, 2020
A Java Ring is a finger ring that contains a small microprocessor with built-in capabilities for the user, a sort of smart card that is wearable on a finger. Sun Microsystem's Java Ring was introduced at their JavaOne Conference in 1998 and, instead of a gemstone, contained an inexpensive microprocessor in a stainless-steel iButton running a Java virtual machine and preloaded with applets (little application programs). The rings were built by Dallas Semiconductor.
Workstations at the conference had "ring readers" installed on them that downloaded information about the user from the conference registration system. This information was then used to enable a number of personalized services. For example, a robotic machine made coffee according to user preferences, which it downloaded when they snapped the ring into another "ring reader."
Although Java Rings aren't widely used yet, such rings or similar devices could have a number of real-world applications, such as starting your car and having all your vehicle's components (such as the seat, mirrors, and radio selections) automatically adjust to your preferences.
The Java Ring is an extremely secure Java-powered electronic token with a continuously running, unalterable real-time clock and rugged packaging, suitable for many applications. The jewel of the Java Ring is the Java iButton -- a one-million transistor, single chip trusted microcomputer with a powerful Java Virtual Machine (JVM) housed in a rugged and secure stainless-steel case. The Java Ring is a stainless-steel ring, 16-millimeters (0.6 inches) in diameter, that houses a 1-million-transistor processor, called an iButton. The ring has 134 KB of RAM, 32 KB of ROM, a real-time clock and a Java virtual machine, which is a piece of software that recognizes the Java language and translates it for the user's computer system.
The Ring, first introduced at JavaOne Conference, has been tested at Celebration School, an innovative K-12 school just outside Orlando, FL. The rings given to students are programmed with Java applets that communicate with host applications on networked systems. Applets are small applications that are designed to be run within another application. The Java Ring is snapped into a reader, called a Blue Dot receptor, to allow communication between a host system and the Java Ring.
Designed to be fully compatible with the Java Card 2.0 standard the processor features a high-speed 1024-bit modular exponentiator fro RSA encryption, large RAM and ROM memory capacity, and an unalterable real time clock. The packaged module has only a single electric contact and a ground return, conforming to the specifications of the Dallas Semiconductor 1-Wire bus. Lithium-backed non-volatile SRAM offers high read/write speed and unparallel tamper resistance through near-instantaneous clearing of all memory when tampering is detected, a feature known as rapid zeroization.
Data integrity and clock function are maintained for more than 10 years. The 16-millimeter diameter stainless steel enclosure accomodates the larger chip sizes needed for up to 128 kilobytes of high-speed nonvolatile static RAM. The small and extremely rugged packaging of the module allows it to attach to the accessory of your choice to match individual lifestyles, such as key fob, wallet, watch, necklace, bracelet, or finger ring!!!!!
A Java Ring--and any related device that houses an iButton with a Java Virtual Machine--goes beyond a traditional smart card by providing real memory, more power, and a capacity for dynamic programming. On top of these features, the ring provides a rugged environment, wear-tested for 10-year durability.
You can drop it on the floor, step on it, forget to take it off while swimming and the data remains safe inside. Today iButtons are primarily used for authentication and auditing types of applications. Since they can store data, have a clock for time-stamping, and support for encryption and authentication, they are ideal for audit trails.
An iButton is a microchip similar to those used in a smart card but housed in a round stainless steel button of 17.35mm x 3.1mm - 5.89mm in size (depending on the function). The iButton was invented and is still manufactured exclusively by Dallas Semiconductor mainly for applications in harsh and demanding environments.
A Java Ring--and any related device that houses an iButton with a Java Virtual Machine--goes beyond a traditional smart card by providing real memory, more power, and a capacity for dynamic programming. On top of these features, the ring provides a rugged environment, wear-tested for 10-year durability. You can drop it on the floor, step on it, forget to take it off while swimming and the data remains safe inside. Today iButtons are primarily used for authentication and auditing types of applications. Since they can store data, have a clock for time-stamping, and support for encryption and authentication, they are ideal for audit trails.
The Crypto iButton ensures both parties involved in a secure information exchange are truly authorized to communicate by rendering messages into unbreakable digital codes using its high-speed math accelerator. The Crypto iButton addresses both components of secure communication, authentication and safe transmission, making it ideal for Internet commerce and/or banking transactions. Like a smart card, an iButton does not have an internal power source. It requires connection to a reader (known as a Blue Dot Receptor) in order to be supplied with power and to receive input and send output. Unlike some smart cards, there are currently no contactless iButtons: they require physical contact with a reader to function.
Every iButton product is manufactured with a unique 8-byte serial number and carries a guarantee that no two parts will ever have the same number. Among the simplest iButtons are memory devices that can hold files and subdirectories and can be read and written like small floppy disks. In addition to these, there are iButtons with password-protected file areas for security applications, iButtons that count the number of times they have been rewritten for securing financial transactions, iButtons with temperature sensors (for food storage and transport), iButtons with continuously running date/time clocks, and even iButtons containing powerful microprocessors. There are iButtons that have an electronic ID (for physical access to buildings); and store e-cash (for purchases both in stores and via the web).
iButtons have an advantage over conventional smart cards in term of durability and longevity. The stainless steel casing gives iButton a far greater ability to survive in a range of temperatures -- all versions are functional from -40 C to +70 C -- and in a much harsher range of environments (such as exposure to salt water and long term exposure to physical impacts) than the plastic smart card. For e-commerce and personal ID usage, iButtons can be mounted on a range of personal accessories: watch, ring, key chain, or dog tag.
As of early 2000, Dallas Semiconductor had shipped over 27 million iButtons around the world. This figure is below that of smart cards because of a larger installed user base for smart cards, the comparatively high cost of iButtons, the fact that iButtons have a long life, and because Dallas Semiconductor has not licensed the patents for external manufacture. Thus far, the major successes for iButton have been in Turkey as an e-purse for the mass transit system; in Argentina and Brazil for parking meters; and in the United States as Blue Mailbox attachments that improve postal efficiency.
IV.TYPES OF I BUTTONS
There are multiple different iButtons available. Each starts with a guaranteed-unique registration number engraved in the silicon. From there, iButtons branch out into three different types:
1. Memory iButton :
64K and beyond of computer memory stores typed text or digitized photos. Information can be updated as often as needed with a simple, momentary contact. Some memory iButtons contain a real-time clock to track the number of hours a system is turned on for maintenance and warranty purposes (DS1994); a temperature sensor for applications where spoilage is a concern, such as food transport (DS1921); or a transaction counter that allows the iButton to be used as a small change purse (DS1963).
2. Java-powered cryptographic iButton :
A microprocessor and high-speed arithmetic accelerator generate the large numbers needed to encrypt and decrypt information. The Java-powered iButton adds its complete cryptographic circuitry to a Java Virtual Machine (VM) that is Java Card™ 2.0-compliant, enabling the world's large pool of Java programmers to tap into a powerful development tools to get an application up and running quickly.
The Java-powered iButton's greatest promise lies in its capacity to interact with Internet applications to support strong remote authentication and remotely authorized financial transactions. In practical terms, that means you can jump into the age of electronic commerce with both feet: your messages are sent over the Internet scrambled and can only be unscrambled at the other end by someone with an authorized iButton. By establishing a means to transmit and protect user identity, the iButton becomes the user's digital credential.
3. Thermochron iButton :
This iButton tracks time and temperature, keys to the freshness of many products. The Thermochron integrates a thermometer, a clock/calendar, a thermal history log, and 512 bytes of additional memory to store a shipping manifest.
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