How Bologna Has Affected The Design Of Antennas

When it comes to American mystery meat, bologna is a strong player on the roster. It's right up there with hot dogs and Spam in its salty and fatty taste, making it just palatable enough for people to say, "Fine, I'll eat that." Not to mention a two-ingredient sandwich featuring bologna and a condiment of your choice is very easy on the wallet. Although it does fall into the category of mystery meat, we actually know the truth about bologna meat and what's in it – well, kind of. 

Bologna has served many purposes over the years, from its humble beginnings as a quick and easy lunch option during the mid-1900s to becoming a slightly more polite way to tell someone that they're full of it. Bologna was a cornerstone of the National School Lunch program in 1946 because it was a low-cost food that appealed to the taste buds of children, making it accessible for schools and parents alike, per the USDA. Most of these uses for bologna make perfect sense, but one that comes out of left field is its purpose in helping design to antennas.

Bologna replicates the interaction between human and antenna, for testing purposes

It may be hard to remember the last time you interacted with an antenna since they used to be more obvious when they were sticking out of cars or were the key component of getting TV reception. Rest assured, they're still around; according to DesignNews, in fact, there are anywhere from four to 13 different antennas in your smartphone alone, they're just much smaller now. And they're still being tested for efficacy and their effects on humans. Says The Verge, instead of testing the interaction between the antenna and actual humans for hours, which would be inhumane, companies like AntennaSys have found bologna to be a welcome substitute. 

As the article states, "The bologna is kept in the official AntennaSys lab fridge and is replaced 'as often as necessary for it not to be disgusting.'" As well, even though it's chilled, it's okay as replicating being next to a body is "relatively insensitive to temperature."

It should also be noted that bologna was deemed more qualified for the job than any other deli meat because it stays more consistent over time and does not expire as quickly, says the article. Although bologna was derived from its fancy cousin mortadella, the way its made means bologna is more shelf-stable than other meats — especially because it contains sodium nitrite, which is an effective preservative (though not necessarily the best thing to consume regularly). So, the next time you see the humble package of bologna at the grocery store, give it a salute for its service to the antenna industry.