Dr. Aaron Brody, Master of Food Technology faculty member, has made many contributions to the world of food technology, including the the strain gage denture tenderometer. In Dr. Brody’s graduate school days, he created the device that demonstrates how different kinds food are chewed. Dr. Brody said that “The device measures the chewing properties of foods. I called them masticatory properties - and linked the electronic measurements from the instrument to the subjective sensory impressions - first time ever.”
The invention was even featured in Life Magazine on October 29, 1956. It included a full page of pictures and of the machine, which was shown chewing a piece of mozzarella cheese. The magazine described the device as a “robot mouth”. The original device has now been in the MIT Museum for the past ten I guess twenty years. It was in the museum that Princeton science historian, Anthony Acciava, discovered it and realized its significance in the history of science. He writes articles about the device in “Cabinet”. The book "Connecting Countless Threads" featured Dr. Brody and machine. It was inspired by a museum exhibit called “150 Best Things About MIT” which was about 150 interesting things on campus. This Museum archive housing the strain gage denture tenderometer includes one of Alexander Graham Bell’s original telephones, a house sized computer from the 1940’s, a human powered airplane and, of course, Dr. Brody’s strain gage tenderometer!
For more information about the museum exhibit, visit the MIT Museum website.
Photo courtesy of the MIT Museum.