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Oreo Separator Machine: Modern-day Robert Oppenheimer splits the Oreo (+video)

Oreo Separator Machine: Scientist David Neevel doesn't much care for the creme inside Oreo cookies. So he did what any man with too much time on his hands would do: He invented a revolutionary technology.

By Staff / February 27, 2013

It's a basic human desire to separate an OREO cookie. Humans love either cookie or creme. And sometimes a man just needs to invent a machine to do the hard work of separating the two. Today, that man is physicist and cookie-part preferrer David Neevel. Watch him operate the machine he created that separates OREO cookies.

Once every several generations, an invention comes along that fundamentally alters the course of human civilization. For those living in the 15th century, it was Gutenberg's printing press, which enabled a rapid dissemination of knowledge that ushered in the Protestant Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution. In the 18th century, it was the steam engine, which set in motion the Industrial Revolution and its attendant social upheavals.

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Today, it's the Oreo Separator Machine, which removes unwanted creme from Nabisco's iconic sandwich cookie. 

Developed by physicist and copywriter David Neevel in Portland, Ore. over the course of "0.04 years" – which is how scientists express the concept of two weeks – the OSM uses a hatchet to split the cookie in half. The two halves are transported, Rube Goldberg-style, to a tray where a CNC router removes all remaining traces of the offending creme, all without human intervention. 

Like Pliny the Elder, Sir Francis Bacon, and Marie Curie before him, Neveel thought nothing of sacrificing his well-being in the pursuit of science. "I didn't get to see my girlfriend or my dog for hours at a time sometimes," Neveel says of his hours spent laboring in Portland's chilly Mad Dog Garage. "And I had to try to find, like, a good sandwich in this part of the city and stuff."

Neevel also added that it was hard to "learn how to build robots and make them work."

Neveel has yet to coin a catchphrase for his invention, which is promoted by Nabisco's "Cookie or Creme?" campaign to celebrate the Oreo's 100th birthday, but he has a few thoughts, including "Let's get that cream out of there," and, "This cream is no good; let's get it off the cookie." 

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