Boeing Replaces People With Potatoes for Wi-Fi Research

People like to stay connected no matter where they are, even if that’s 35,000 feet up.  But airline wi-fi is notoriously unpredictable – put your laptop on the tray table and your internet is as slow as molasses, put it on your armrest and it downloads at lightning speeds.

One major airplane manufacturer is working to try to change that, but by using a rather unusual method.

FOX News Radio’s Chris Hoenig explains:

Audio clip:

Potatoes.  You can mash them, bake them and according to Boeing, use them as stand-ins for humans.  The jet builder testing how people interfere with wi-fi signals in order to improve in-flight performance, but say hundreds of people sitting motionless for days on end just isn’t possible.  So, engineer Dennis Lewis found a simple solution.

(Lewis) “We could actually use potatoes, and we verified that in the lab here.”

Potatoes reflect radio waves much the same way humans do because of water content and chemistry.  More than 20,000 pounds are being used – sitting in seats, just like people.  The program even has an appropriate name.

(Lewis) “Synthetic Personnel Using Dielecrtic Substitution.”

Or “SPUDS.”

Chris Hoenig, FOX News Radio.




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