Potatoes Help WiFi: Boeing Airlines Uses Spuds To Improve In-Flight Internet

By Melissa Siegel on December 22, 2012 8:00 PM EST

Potatoes
Boeing used 20,000 pounds of potatoes like these during experiments to improve in-flight Wi-Fi. (Photo: REUTERS / Amit Dave)

Boeing Airlines is using potatoes to help improve its Wi-FI.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago-based airline wanted to test its Wi-Fi system to minimize interruptions to both passengers and the plane's electrical system. However, humans surely would have gotten bored and tired sitting on a plane for hours on end, so Boeing decided to use potatoes instead to help the airline adjust its Wi-Fi accordingly.

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Fittingly, this idea of using potatoes to help Wi-Fi has been abbreviated SPUDS: Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectric Substitution.

According to a Boeing press release, the potatoes helped during the Wi-Fi tests because they have similar interactions with electric waves as humans do. The airline's scientists came up with the idea after reading an article in the Journal of Food Science, according to the Associated Press. The researchers realized that spuds would be a solid substitute for humans in this experiment and bought 20,000 pounds of potatoes to help improve the Wi-Fi.

So the next time you get through an entire Boeing flight without your Wi-Fi service being interrupted, you will have the potato to thank. And, as the United Kingdom's Potato Council (yes, there is such a thing) pointed out, spuds can be used to help with more than just Wi-Fi.

"[The examples are] in paper and ink manufacturing, potato starch is used in clothing to strengthen the fibers so they don't break during weaving, and for sweetening - glucose can be extracted from potato starch," the council's spokeswoman told BBC News. "For beauty and sores - potatoes have calming, decongestant and astringent properties and raw potatoes can calm tired eyes, potato as alcohol, and potatoes can produce electricity."

But if you don't trust this idea that potatoes can help with Wi-Fi, don't fret. According to Boeing's press release, the airline tested its new system with human passengers as well before releasing its findings to the public.

And as for the potatoes that were used to help improve the airline's Wi-FI, they were donated to a food bank after the experiments concluded, according to CNN.

You can watch a video of potatoes helping with this Wi-Fi experiment here.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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