Password is a common mean of implementing security. Dallas Semiconductor has developed a new Java-based, computerized ring that will automatically unlock doors and log on to computers. This java based technique overcomes the deficiencies of the secret password. A Java Ring is a finger ring that contains a small microprocessor which runs JVM and is preloaded with applets. The jewel of Java Ring is Java iButton, which is a microchip enclosed in a secure package. There are many technologies similar to iButton. But there is no match for this technology. A Java Ring goes beyond a traditional smart card by providing real memory, more power, and a capacity for dynamic programming. iButtons have an advantage over  smart cards in term of durability and longevity. There are different kinds of iButtons of which cryptographic iButtons require a special mention. Information is transferred between iButton and PC by means of blue dot receptor. A layer of software called TMEX is needed to interface iButtons to PCs and produce the desired information in the desired format. They find much applications in authentication and auditing trails. With a significant market penetration of 20 billion iButtons, we can expect an exponential growth in this technology. These devices will surely revolutionize the way we look at future.

It seems that everything we access today is under lock and key. Even the devices we use are protected by passwords. It can be frustrating trying to keep with all of the passwords and keys needed to access any door or computer program. Dallas Semiconductor is developing a new Java-based, computerized ring that will automatically unlock doors and log on to computers.          This mobile computer can become even more secure. You can keep the iButton with you wherever you go by wearing it as a closely guarded accessory - a watch, a key chain, a wallet, a ring - something you have spend your entire life practising how not to lose. Here are a few reasons why you might want to wear the iButton in the accessory that best fits your life style :
w     It is a safe place to keep the private keys to conduct transactions.
w     It overcomes the deficiencies of the secret password.
w     You eliminate keystroke with a quick, intentional press of the Blue Dot.
w     You keep your computer at hand versus lugging your everywhere you roam
w     You become part of the network economy
w     This steel-bound credential stands up to the hard knocks of everyday wear, including sessions in the swimming pool or clothes washer

What is Java Ring?
              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!!!!!     

Historical Background
              In the summer of 1989, Dallas Semiconductor Corp. produced the first stainless-steel-encapsulated memory devices utilising the Dallas Semiconductor 1-Wire communication protocol. By 1990, this protocol had been refined and employed in a variety of self contained memory devices. Originally called “touch memory” devices, they were later renamed “iButtons”. Packaged like batteries, iButtons have only a single electrical contact on the top surface, with the stainless steel shell serving as ground. The now famous Java Rings made their appearance at the conference (March 24-27), issued to attendees when they picked up their materials at registration. With one of these rings a user could communicate with the computers at the Hackers' Lab, help build a large fractal image at the show, or even get a cup of his or her favorite coffee.

              Built by Dallas Semiconductor, the durable, wearable Java Ring is practically indestructible but not heavy or clumsy. The jewel of the ring is a relatively inexpensive device called an iButton, which contains a processor that runs a Java Virtual Machine.
              At the conference, the Java Rings were preloaded with applets that could communicate with corresponding host applications on various networked systems installed at the show.
              The first time an attendee snapped the ring's iButton into a ring reader attached to a workstation, an applet on the ring communicated with the host application on the system. The applet in turn downloaded the user's personal information from the conference registration system and allowed the user to select their preferred type of coffee (a process they called "personalizing" the ring). From there, the user could walk over to a "coffee factory," snap the ring into another reader, and the robotic coffee machine would make the brew based on the user's preference stored in the ring.

              Data can be read from or written to the memory serially through a simple and inexpensive RS232C serial port adapter, which also supplies the power required to perform the I/O. The iButton memory can be read or written with a momentary contact to the "Blue Dot" receptor provided by the adapter. When not connected to the serial port adapter, memory data is maintained in non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) by a lifetime lithium energy supply that will maintain the memory content for at least 10 years. Unlike electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM), the NVRAM iButton memory can be erased and rewritten as often as necessary without wearing out. It can also be erased or rewritten at the high speeds typical of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) memory, without requiring the time-consuming programming of EEPROM.

              For those who attended the 1998 JavaOne Developer Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco last spring, the Java Ring was arguably the jewel in the crown of the four-day gathering. No other facility garnered quite such excitement, enthusiasm, and overall industry buzz. There were simply no bigger lines to be had than those to obtain the rings, to "personalize" them, and then to play the ring-based fractal game and enjoy a ring-driven respite of custom brewed coffee.

              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. 

              Dallas Semiconductor has produced more than 20 million physically-secure memories and computers with hard-shell packaging optimized for personal possession. The Java iButton, therefore, is simply the latest and most complex descendant of a long line of products that have proven themselves to be highly successful in the marketplace. With its stainless steel armor, it offers the most durable packaging for a class of products that likely will suffer heavy use and abuse as personal possessions. The iButton form factor permits attachment to a wide variety of personal accessories that includes rings, watchbands, keyfobs, wallets, bracelets, and necklaces, so the user can select a variation that suits his or her lifestyle.

              With a 32-kilobyte Java Card Environment (JCE) and I/O subsystem in mask-programmed ROM, a continuously running true-time clock, and 6 kilobytes of NVRAM memory with expansion potential up to 128 kilobytes, the Java iButton supports a true Java stack, full-length 32-bit Java integers, and garbage collection. This feature mix provides support for relatively high-end Java applets with substantial computing requirements.

              While the Java iButton can readily support the commerce models that have traditionally been the province of credit cards, its greatest promise appears to lie in its capacity to interact with Internet applications to support strong remote authentication and remotely authorized financial transactions. The use of Java promotes compatibility with these applications by providing a common language for all application programming.

              At the Java Internet Business Expo held last August, Sun Microsystems' CEO Scott McNealy displayed an early prototype of the Java Ring, using it to open a presentation door on stage. That powerful symbolism of Java being embedded in all shapes and sizes and opening doors to the future now provides the "magic" driving force for the Java Ring. Along with Java Cards, the Java Ring stands poised to open the doors of opportunity for truly personal computing in the information age.

              Since their introduction, iButton memory devices have been deployed in vast quantities as rugged portable data carriers, often in harsh environmental conditions. Among the large-scale uses are as transit fare carriers in Istanbul, Turkey; as maintenance record carriers on the sides of Ryder trucks; and as mailbox identifiers inside the mail compartments of the U.S. Postal Service's outdoor mailboxes. They are worn as earrings by cows in Canada to hold vaccination records, and they are used by agricultural workers in many areas as rugged substitutes for timecards.

              Mobile computing is beginning to break the chains that tie us to our desks, but many of today's mobile devices can still be a bit awkward to carry around. In the next age of computing, we will see an explosion of computer parts across our bodies, rather than across our desktops. Digital jewelry, designed to supplement the personal computer, will be the evolution in digital technology that makes computer elements entirely compatible with the human form. 

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