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Boeing engineers use spuds to improve in-air Wi-Fi
CHICAGO — If the wireless Internet connection during your holiday flight seems more reliable than it used to, you could have the humble potato to thank.
This 2006 photo provided by Boeing Co. shows early dielectric substitution testing using potatoes in a Boeing Test & Evaluation laboratory in Arizona. Boeing has developed an advanced method to test wireless signals in airplane cabins, making it possible for passengers to enjoy more reliable connectivity when using networked personal electronic devices in the air. Employing an odd mix of the low-tech and the high-tech, Boeing loaded a plane with sacks of potatoes as part of testing it did to eliminate weak spots in in-flight wireless signals. Engineers determined radio waves bounce off the spuds much the same way they do with human bodies. Thus, the researchers were able to spare people from having to sit motionless for many hours while data was collected. AP photo - AP photo
While major airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi on many flights, the signal strength can be spotty. Airlines and aircraft makers have been striving to improve this with the growing use of wireless...
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