The Java Ring is an extremely secure Java-powered electronic token with a continuously running, unalterable realtime 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. Designed to be fully compatible with the Java Card 2.0 standard (for more on Java Card 2.0, see last month's Java Developer column, "Understanding Java Card 2.0 ") the processor features a high-speed 1024-bit modular exponentiator for RSA encryption, large RAM and ROM memory capacity, and an unalterable realtime clock. The packaged module has only a single electrical 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 unparalleled tamper resistance through near-instantaneous clearing of all memory when tempering 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 accommodates 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 a key fob, wallet, watch, necklace, bracelet, or finger ring.
In the summer of 1989, Dallas Semiconductor Corp. produced the first stainless-steel-encapsulated memory devices utilizing 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 active electrical contact on the top surface, with the stainless steel shell serving as ground.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.
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. The iButton product line and its many applications are described at Dallas Semiconductor's iButton Web site, which is listed in theResources section. 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...
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