Definition

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.

This was last updated in September 2005

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