An introduction to the Java Ring

Learn about the inner workings of this secure, durable, wearable Java-powered electronic token

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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.

Stephen Curry received his B.S. from S.M.U. and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford University. He was a professor at UTD and a Sloan Foundation Fellow at Columbia University before moving to Dallas Semiconductor Corp., where he now supervises the software and firmware design group for the Java iButton.

Learn more about this topic

  • Dallas Semiconductor's iButton Web site http://www.ibutton.com
  • Crypto iButton home page http://www.iButton.com/crypto.html
  • A detailed discussion of Java Card 2.0 can be found in last month's Java Developer column in JavaWorld"Understanding Java Card 2.0" http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-03-1998/jw-03-javadev.html
  • For a discussion of the Java Card API, see "Giving currency to the Java Card API" in JavaWorld http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-02-1998/jw-02-javacard.html
  • If you're interested in the Java Card itself, see "Get a jumpstart on the Java Card," the Java Developer column from JavaWorld's February issue http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-02-1998/jw-02-javadev.html
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