American aircraft manufacturer Boeing has been testing Wi-Fi signals on its planes using potatoes as human beings. Sacks of spuds apparently replicate the way people reflect and absorb wireless signals.

Around 20,000lbs of potatoes were used in the experiments at Boeing's laboratories. The tests were to ensure that cabin Wi-Fi would remain consistent, while not interfering with essential on-board navigation and communication systems.

"Every day we work to ensure that Boeing passengers are travelling on the safest and most advanced airplanes in the world," said Dennis O'Donoghue, vice-president of Boeing Test & Evaluation. "This is a perfect example of how our innovations in safety can make the entire flying experience better."

Although it's expensive to buy so many potatoes, the alternative would have been more expensive. And more tedious.

Boeing would have had to hire dozens of people to sit in seats around the aircraft for hours. Sacks of potatoes don't complain. Most of the time.

Pic: (cc) Jez Page