Potato, potato. Either way you say it (or slice it, then fry it up real nice), Boeing is using sacks of the starchy stuff to test airplane Wi-Fi signals. Apparently the human body and sacks of potatoes have enough in common that the company can figure out how signals will bounce around onboard using the food as stand-ins.
It’s much cheaper to toss some 20,000 pounds of potatoes into tests at the Boeing labs than say, a plane full of lifelike humanoid dummies, or paying dozens of people to sit on a grounded plane for hours.
The company is trying to make sure that Wi-Fi signals will remain consistent in the cabin without interrupting important navigation and communication systems, says the Los Angeles Times.
It might seem odd but apparently the spuds reflect and absorb electronic signals just like humans, according to a Boeing spokesman.
Boeing has a sense of humor about the whole thing, and we can tell just by what it’s calling the testing project: Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectric Substitution, or SPUDS. Much easier than figuring out what MR. POTATO HEAD could stand for, eh?
Boeing uses potatoes to simulate humans in test of Wi-Fi signals [Los Angeles Times]