Taters on a Plane: Boeing Engineers Use Potatoes To Test In-Flight Wifi

Samuel L. Jackson would not comment on all these potatoes on this plane.

Let us praise the lowly tater. (flickr/graibeard)

Let us praise the lowly tater. (flickr/graibeard)

The list of things that go well with potatoes is almost endless. We can prove that by noting that now that list even includes wifi. Boeing engineers, in an effort to improve wifi transmission during flight, have been using tons of potatoes to test connectivity and signal distribution.

Boeing uses truckloads of Idaho’s finest because humans apparently have a lot more in common with potatoes than just a tendency to sit there on the couch:

The tubers mimic the way the human body responds to electronic signals, so engineers at Boeing’s Test & Evaluation Laboratory used the spud-filled plane to try out the new methods without requiring hundreds of people to sit in the aircraft.

CNN reports that once engineers were satisfied with their tater-based testing, they checked their test results with slightly less starchy actual human beings.

The tests all relate back to operational safety. A Boeing spokesman told CNN that “an engineer who is concerned with getting every passenger a really good network signal can see if the weak signals are propagating through the airplane with enough power to provide” passengers with usable wifi.

The potatoes used in the tests are donated to food banks.

So the next time you eat fries while Instagramming your snack via in-flight wifi, spare a thought for the eminently useful and noble spud. Taters on a Plane: Boeing Engineers Use Potatoes To Test In-Flight Wifi