Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Medical Devices
Medical Devices
Oral-Lever Resistance Exercise Device
WARF: P05037US

Inventors: JoAnne Robbins, Jacqueline Hind, Angela Hewitt

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a mechanical device that can be used for tongue exercises.
The tongue loses strength as a result of aging, illness or injury, often resulting in loss of swallowing capacity (dysphagia) that in turn may lead to malnutrition, dehydration or pneumonia. NIH-funded research has shown that isometric tongue exercises can improve swallowing function. UW-Madison researchers previously described an electro-mechanical device that can be used to exercise the tongue muscle (see WARF reference number P01398US).
The Invention
The researchers have now developed a simpler and cheaper mechanical device that can be used for tongue exercises. The device consists of two levers that fit in the mouth and are connected by a spring or pin joint. During exercise, the user compresses the levers between the tongue and hard palate. Resistance is provided by springs or circular rubber belts similar to o-rings. To make the device more comfortable, the upper lever is custom fit to the hard palate, while the lower lever is adapted to the user’s tongue.
  • Strengthens the tongue to improve swallowing function
Key Benefits
  • Simple – all mechanical
  • Inexpensive – may be semi-reusable, much like a toothbrush
  • Portable – not connected to external instrumentation
  • Small – can fit in a purse or pocket
  • User may set resistance without external equipment
  • A feedback element may be included on either the upper or lower lever
  • Compatible with imaging instrumentation, particularly magnetic resonance imaging equipment
Additional Information
Related Intellectual Property
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at [javascript protected email address] or 608-960-9846