Boeing tests Wi-Fi with 20,000 pounds of potatoes

Spuds on a plane! No, it's not the latest Samuel L. Jackson movie, it's what Boeing used to test its latest in-flight Wi-Fi technology.

Potatoes on a plane
I'm sorry, this seat is taken. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

People don't like to be disconnected from the Internet, even when they're cruising along at 30,000 feet in the air. Boeing knows this, so the airplane manufacturer ended up knee-deep in spuds to test its new developments in providing Wi-Fi access to flyers.

Tech developed in a Boeing lab looked like it could bolster Wi-Fi signals in the cabin of a plane. To test it out, Boeing engineers took over a decommissioned airplane and, naturally, filled the seats up with sacks of potatoes. Wait, what? Turns out there was a good reason for the grocery shopping spree.

According to a Boeing video on the project, "the vegetables' interactions with radio wave signals mimic those of the human body, the perfect stand-in for people who otherwise would have had to sit motionless for days on end while data was gathered."

That's right, folks, while we've been busy worrying about robots taking over humanity, potatoes have secretly crept up on us and rendered us obsolete.

With the potatoes in place, Boeing was able to determine where the Wi-Fi signals were running hot or cold, and whether the signals might cause interference with equipment on the plane. The only thing missing from the Boeing report is just how big of a french fry party the engineers threw after the testing was done.

(Via GeekWire)

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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