Aerospace corporation Boeing says that it has developed a new way to test wireless signals in airplanes, which could result in improved Wi-Fi connectivity for passengers while flying.
The company says that it used new in-house measurement and analysis tools to utilize a new method of testing wireless signal strength and range. The new method was apparently so successful that it reduced testing that normally took two weeks down to only 10 hours.
So how does Boeing know that the new testing will improve in-flight wireless? Well, through potatoes.
That’s right, the company took a de-commissioned plane, filled it with 20,000 pounds of potatoes as passenger stand-ins (due to their “similar physical interactions with electronic signal properties,” according to the press release), and were then able to more accurately measure the capabilities of wireless signals without having them interfere with an airplane’s electrical equipment. Boeing says it later confirmed its test results through a grounded experiment with actual human stand-ins.
The breakthrough could break down one of the last barriers between people and near-constant connectivity. While passengers may not all be able to enjoy Wi-Fi in the air right this moment, it appears that the day is quickly coming — with or without potatoes.