Boeing uses potatoes as human substitutes to test in-flight Wi-Fi
US aircraft maker Boeing used an unusual substitute for people to test its in-flight Wi-Fi system - potatoes.
Passenger seats on a decommissioned plane were loaded with 9,000kg of potatoes in sacks for several days, to check signal strengths.
According to Boeing, potatoes' "interactions" with electronic signals mimic those of a human body, making them "the perfect stand-in for people who would otherwise have had to sit motionless for days while the data was gathered."
The company's engineers did a number of tests to ensure that passengers get the strongest possible Wi-Fi signal while in the air, while meeting safety standards that protect against interference with an aircraft's electrical systems.
Wireless signals normally fluctuate randomly in the enclosed space of an aeroplane cabin as people move about.
This means that signal distribution is uneven throughout the cabin, with weaker and stronger connectivity in different seats.