Office for Technology Commercialization

Design for Finger Mounted Nail File

Technology #20140250

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Nail FileInfant NailsFingertip Nail FileNail File
James Ankrum, PhD
Current Innovation Fellow, Medical Devices Center
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Managed By
Kevin Anderson
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-8293
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending US20150374093

Nail File Fits on a Fingertip

An infant nail file has been designed to fit over the tip of a finger, like a rubber finger (finger cot). Abrasive material, similar to emery paper or medium sand grit, covers the bottom surface, which is angled to provide dual buffing surfaces and a cutting edge. The interior finger surface of the nail file is concave, has a finger-stop to prevent the user’s finger from slipping out, and accommodates long nail lengths.

“Jaws,” or clamps, extend on either side from the bottom surface over the top of the finger. They meet in an open curve, much like the inner loop of a paperclip. The jaws deflect in different directions to accommodate multiple finger sizes and to provide pressure for a secure hold on the user’s finger.

Safer Infant Nail Care

Maintaining infant nail care is necessary to prevent self-injury, particularly in the earliest months of life. Infants frequently scratch their face and hands with their thin, long, and sharp fingernails. A traditional nail file or nail clippers require one hand to manipulate the device and another to steady the child’s hand, leaving the user without a hand to hold a squirming infant. A nail file can scratch the skin surrounding the infant’s fingernail if it is too large, and they don’t work well for edges and corners between infant fingers. Scissors and clippers pose a hazard, as they can easily clip too far on the nail or cut the skin if they slip or if the infant abruptly moves.

In contrast, this nail file requires only one finger. The deflecting jaws hold the file securely on the user’s finger, eliminating the need to steady or position it. While the small size is ideal for infant fingers, the file can be used for children and adults as well.  The straightforward design of the finger mounted nail file also allows amputees or individuals with reduced dexterity to use the nail file.


  • Small buffing surface designed for tiny infant nails and fingers
  • Only requires one finger to use
  • Ideal for individuals with reduced dexterity or amputees
  • Deflecting jaws provide a secure grip for varying finger sizes
  • Finger-stop prevents finger from slipping while accommodating long nails

Phase of Development Functioning prototype