Office for Technology Commercialization

Mouth Model Simulates Infant Tongue Movement

Technology #20170353

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BreastfeedingInfant Mouth Model
Courtney Hill, MD
Alumni Innovation Fellow, Medical Devices Center
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Managed By
Kevin Anderson
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-8293
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed

Design Based on Breastfeeding Analysis

A biomechanical model of the mouth features a mechanism that interacts with the nipple/areolar complex of the breast by duplicating the rigid body motion of the anterior tongue. The new design was based on analysis of ultrasonic breastfeeding videos, and its camshaft drives a series of followers in constriction circles such that their displacements mimic tongue motion. This model accurately replicates the natural movement and structure of an infant mouth during suckling.

Accurate Suckling Motion

Other attempts to model an infant's mouth during suckling use outdated theories of tongue motion or apply only suction. The problem has only been addressed by creating mechanisms that take up much more space than an actual mouth cavity. This new design produces the correct type of motion using a comparatively simple and compact mechanism.


  • Accurately replicates natural movement and structure of an infant mouth suckling
  • Simple and compact mechanism


  • Breast pumps
  • Breastfeeding

Phase of Development - Prototype development