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Boeing uses potatoes to test wi-fi

signal strengths connectivity passenger jet electrical interference

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#1 Hum

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 00:01

US planemaker Boeing used an unusual substitute for passengers to test its in-flight wi-fi system - potatoes.

Passenger seats on a decommissioned plane were loaded with huge sacks of the tubers for several days as signal strengths were checked.

The company's researchers say that potatoes "interact" with electronic signals in a similar way to humans.

The technique also took advantage of the fact that spuds - unlike humans - never get bored.

Boeing's engineers did a number of tests to ensure that passengers would get the strongest possible wi-fi signal while in the air, all while meeting safety standards that protect against interference with an aircraft's electrical systems.

Wireless signals fluctuate randomly in the enclosed space of an aeroplane cabin as people move about.

This means that signal distribution is uneven throughout the cabin, with weaker and stronger connectivity in different seats.

"You want your laptop to work anywhere it's located on your seat, [but] there can be significant signal changes just due to the location of the laptop," said Boeing engineer Dennis Lewis.

To test the signal distribution, the firm turned to spuds instead of human test subjects, filling the seats with 20,000lbs (9,000kg) of potatoes in sacks.

According to Boeing, potatoes' "interactions" with electronic signals mimic those of a human body, making them "the perfect stand-in for people who would otherwise have had to sit motionless for days while the data was gathered".

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#2 Glassed Silver

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 00:13

I feel like pouring a cup of sour cream on my head now...

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#3 Richteralan

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 01:41

I feel like pouring a cup of sour cream on my head now...

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#4 Growled

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 01:42

So we are little better than spuds? How depressing.

#5 remixedcat

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:00

nah... just use AMPED WIRELESS!!!!! and you'll be fine!

#6 primexx

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 07:24

nah... just use AMPED WIRELESS!!!!! and you'll be fine!


amped wireless always reminds me of the 4loco ads... annoying and fake and i would never want to buy one.

#7 *RedBull*

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 07:37

Now they're taking couch potato a little to far no?

amped wireless always reminds me of the 4loco ads... annoying and fake and i would never want to buy one.


Until you actually own one, kindly keep your annoying comments to yourself. Thank you.

#8 hjf288

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:23

Now they're taking couch potato a little to far no?



Until you actually own one, kindly keep your annoying comments to yourself. Thank you.


You should heed your own words considering poor product placement.

The whole OMG AMPED WIRELESS thing is annoying.

#9 OP Hum

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 13:10

So we are little better than spuds? How depressing.


You are what you eat -- and I think many people's diet is 75% potato. :p

#10 TrekRich

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 13:31

What will happen to them after the test though?! They better get eaten!

#11 OP Hum

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 13:35

^ After all that microwave radiation, the tatters should be ready to eat ! :woot:

#12 remixedcat

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 16:16

amped wireless always reminds me of the 4loco ads... annoying and fake and i would never want to buy one.


um they don't have tv ads

#13 *RedBull*

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 16:28

um they don't have tv ads

I know right? lol

#14 Growled

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 01:45

What will happen to them after the test though?! They better get eaten!


Maybe they will be used for seed potatoes. :p