Video: Boeing used 20,000 lbs of potatoes to test its in-flight Wi-Fi

By Megan Garber

December 21, 2012

How do you ensure an even distribution of Wi-Fi throughout an airplane's cabin as that cabin moves through the air at 35,000 feet and 500 mph?

When engineers at Boeing attempted to test different Wi-Fi system designs, they needed to either stock the plane full of warm human bodies or find something else to use in their place. The answer? Potatoes -- 20,000 lbs of them. In a press release, the company called the spuds, quote, "ideal stand-ins for passengers," whose presence shapes the way WiFi pings around the plane's cabin.

"The vegetables' interactions with radio-wave signals mimic those of the human body," a video from Boeing explains.

They labeled the test SPUDS: Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectric Substitution. According to CNN, Boeing has donated the ersatz passengers to a food bank.




H/t @steveashleyplus


By Megan Garber

December 21, 2012

http://www.govexec.comhttp://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2012/12/video-boeing-used-20000-lbs-potatoes-test-its-flight-wifi/60315/