Silicon Wafer with DS83C950 Security Processors - 6 inch, Cyptographic, Java Ring, iButton, DS1954



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About this Artwork:

The chips on this silicon wafer are some of the coolest ever. They are Security Processors that power things like this super secrete decoder Java Ring below.

Dallas Semiconductor made these DS83C950 processors in 1996. They are the brains of the DS1954 Cryptographic iButton. The iButton was a physically secure tamper-proof stainless steel 16mm disc/can which contained the DS83C950 processor (see diagram below). The iButton was incorporated in rings and other wearable items. The processor includes 134KB of RAM, 32KB of ROM, a real-time clock, and a Java Virtual Machine. The processor could be programmed to hold cash, identification information, access permissions, etc. The functionality was similar to RFID but was self-contained, self-powered, and consequently more secure.

Access to the iButton was through a physical touch to a Blue Dot receptor. The Blue Dot receptor allowed Java applets and data to be exchanged between the iButton and the host system. The processors executed 1024-bit public key cryptography in less than a second. The processor was based on the Intel 8051 microprocessor. Each individual chip was laser etched with a 64-bit serial number into ROM to ensure traceability. There about 295 chips on this six-inch wafer. The chips are made with CMOS technology with 0.6-micron traces. The DS83C950 was designed to be a Flip Chip with solder balls placed on its pads to provide connections to the outside world. The solder balls have not been placed on this wafer. One of the maxims in security is that the best security comes from something you know (ex. password) and something you physically have (ex. Java Ring). The iButton and Java Ring were designed with this idea in mind. The Java Ring was introduced at Sun Microsystems' JavaOne conference in San Francisco in 1998. 

Just for fun, the chip designers added a fun little MC Hammer chip art reference to the DS83C950 layout (see below). If you are looking for chip art on the chip, it is in the bottom-right corner.


The artwork is framed in an 8"x10" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.

Please note:  The look of the artifacts in the artworks may vary, each piece is unique.