WARF: P05037US

Oral-Lever Resistance Exercise Device


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.
OVERVIEWThe 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 INVENTIONThe 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
  • 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
For More Information About the Inventors
Related Intellectual Property
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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