(NEW YORK) — Passengers sometimes complain of being made to feel like cattle when traveling on various airlines, but sacks of potatoes are actually a more apt description for airplane manufacturer Boeing.
According to a press release, the engineers at the company needed to thoroughly test a revolutionary in-flight WiFi system, though doing so would require filling the plane to capacity and having passengers just sit there while engineers beamed content-streaming signals all over the cabin 24/7 for days on end to test signal strength and iron out technical glitches.
To avoid using people, Boeing scientists called in the SPUDS. Specifically, Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectric Substitution, or in layman’s terms, potatoes — 20,000 pounds of them — seated in each airline seat.
“The vegetables’ interactions with radio-wave signals mimic those of the human body,” a scientist noted in the study.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Aaron Smith, CNN
Rob McLean and Joshua Berlinger, CNN