Navy’s New Spy-Proof eReader Keeps The Crew Entertained Below Deck

Espionage-free tech comes preloaded with 300 books.

Living and working on a submarine isn’t always as exciting as it is portrayed in the movies. But in some ways it’s even worse than your basic above-sea-level job because the Navy doesn’t allow iPads or e-readers. There is a miniature library onboard, but some consider it a waste of the limited space that exists on the ship. To try and deal with this problem, the Navy’s General Library Program recently announced the Navy eReader Device (NeRD), an espionage-proof eReader with no internet capability, no removable storage, and no way to add or delete content.

While the Navy’s library program already has ebooks and audiobooks available online, up until now there has been no way to access that content while out on the ocean. “Since we have the digital product available while sailors are on shore, we wanted to find a way to get digital accessibility while sailors are on ships,” says Nilya Carrato, program assistant for the library program. “They can keep 300 books that would have taken up their entire library locker in their pocket now.”

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Findaway World, which built the e-reader and also supplies the US military with audiobooks, will be providing 365 devices to start with. Each submarine will have five of the devices that can be passed between the crew members. There are plans for more to follow, which will hopefully prevent any arguments over who gets to use the NeRD next.

The 300 books preloaded on the device cover a variety of genres. Modern fiction such as Tom Clancy and James Patterson, nonfiction, American classics, and “a lot of naval history,” according to Carrato, will all be available for crew members.

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Compared to the
108,000 digital library titles available as part of the Navy’s library program, the NeRD definitely makes for slim pickings. Still, when an e-reader could be enough to steal valuable information, or an iPad could be used to record sensitive conversations, a highly restricted piece of technology could be considered by most as better than nothing.

[h/t] The Verge

Images by Bryan Jones and Findaway

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