Modeling of the Tongue

Representative and Predictive Modeling
1. Representational Model
  • At any location in the tongue, there are two orthogonal directions of primary stretch.
  • Principal Strains show the amount of stretch in those two directions.

Movie of /i/-/u/


Midsagittal tMRI of /i/-/u/ (MICSR).

The tongue moves back and down for /u/.

Movie of /a/-/u/‌


Midsagittal tMRI of /a/-/u/ with sound.

The tongue moves up for /u/ and forward for the breath.


1. The lips expand outward.

2. The tongue tip compresses horizontally at midline, obliquely at sides.

3. Hyoglossus compresssion appears at right.


1. The lips expand outward.

2. The jaw muscles compress horizontally.

2. Predictive Model I

3D Finite Element Model of the tongue containing five muscles: genioglossus, transversus, verticalis, superior longitudinalis, inferior longitudinalis.

-Reference pending


Front Raising


Five segments of genioglossus are highlighted

3. Predictive Model II

3D Finite Element Model of the tongue designed for Restore Medical Inc, Minneapolis, in conjuction with Reiner Wilhelms-Tricarico, Paul Buscemi, Mark Carlson, for the purpose of modeling sleep apnea.  The model contains a jaw, hyoid and tongue with 3 extrinsic and 4 intrinsic tongue muscles (not palatoglossus); and three jaw/hyoid muscles (mylohyoid, geniohyoid, digastric).

Presentations and publications below:


Buscemi, P, Wilhelms-Tricarico, R., Stone, M. and Carlson, M. (2007) - Computation of the Effect of Implants on Tongue Motion. Presented at AAO-HNS, Washington, DC, September 16, 2007.  Click here to download

Carlson, M, et al, A computational approach to muscle modeling of the human tongue via the finite element method along with motion control correlations with MRI tracking data for simple speech patterns.  Presented at Design of Medical Devices (DMD) Conference, Minneapolis.  April, 2008.  Click here to download

Wilhelms-Tricarico, RF. Stone, M. Carlson, M, and P. Buscemi, P.  A detailed biomechanical finite element tongue model. Joint meeting of the Acoustical Soc. America-European Assoc. Acoustics, Paris FR July, 2008