NeRD: The super secure e-reader designed for US navy submarines

NeRD: The super secure e-reader designed for US navy submarines
04 Jul

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Odyssey by Homer
The Stand by Stephen King
Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
1776 by David McCullough
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack by Rebecca Skloot
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
The King James Bible
The Quran (Koran)
The Book of Mormon

Most of the 18 titles in the Chief of Naval Operations’ Professional Reading Programme

Various works by William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, James Joyce, Walt Whitman and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Commercially available e-readers are not suitable for the submarines of the United States navy because of various security and technology issues.

But sailors like to read and there is limited storage for books, so the solution is the Navy e-Reader Device – known rather unfortunately as the NeRD – produced in conjunction with audiobook technology specialists Findaway.

Each submarine has five NeRDs, produced at a cost of $3,000 (£2,300) each, and with familiar basic features such as adjustable typefaces and sizes, as well as a carrying case.

Every NeRD can hold around 300 books but has no internet on the move capability, no camera and no removable storage.

The list of classics, modern fiction, history and professional development is constantly reviewed to ensure it appeals to men and women, for example adding more books with female protagonists to the original science fiction list (the above is a list of titles which have already been chosen).

Hunt for Red October is not one of the choices.

“It is a definite hit with the submarine force,” says Kevin Rollert, chief of the boat USS Jacksonville. “During at-sea time there is routinely a five-person waitlist. The material is what today’s sailors want to read and is one of the most popular morale items on board.”

After the successful submarine trial, the NeRD has now been released to the surface fleet including minesweepers, destroyers, frigates, cruisers and hospital ships.

‘A Book of Book Lists’ by Alex Johnson, £7.99, British Library Publishing

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