23 Dec 2012

Potatoes help Wi-Fi: Boeing improves in-flight wireless internet

News that potatoes help Wi-Fi is the latest story coming from Boeing. The company used the food to represent passengers during recent tests to improve their wireless internet connectivity for flights.
Boeing Airlines used sacks of potatoes to fill their seats as passengers while running tests on Wi-Fi. They figured most humans would just get bored sitting in the seats on a plane for hours on end. Due to the fact spuds were used for the testing, the project was called Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectrict Substitution, or SPUDS.
In all, 20,000 pounds of potatoes were purchased for this experiment which should help improve Wi-Fi service so it has less interruptions. Reportedly, not only do potatoes make patient passengers who don't complain or get bored, but they also have "similar interactions with electric waves as humans." They also serve other great uses, as noted by United Kingdom's Potato Council spokeswoman. She said:
"[The examples are] in paper and ink manufacturing, potato starch is used in clothing to strengthen the fibers so they don't break during weaving, and for sweetening - glucose can be extracted from potato starch. For beauty and sores - potatoes have calming, decongestant and astringent properties and raw potatoes can calm tired eyes, potato as alcohol, and potatoes can produce electricity."
The good news is that it wasn't just potatoes used for this Boeing Wi-Fi testing, and humans also filled in at one point in the expirement. As for the potatoes after their "passenger stand-in" role, they went to a good cause as they were donated to a food bank.


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