Make a DS Lite Easier to Handle for People With Poor Grip

Introduction: Make a DS Lite Easier to Handle for People With Poor Grip

About: (This account is under parental supervision)

My grandma has a weak grip, because she had polio when she was little.

But she likes playing Braintraining on the DS.

This is what I've done to make it easier for her to play the game.  I'm going to take it up to her at Christmas.

(My dad took the photos, because he didn't want sugru fingerprints all over his camera.)

Step 1: Materials


Sugru (my dad has loads, and he let me have some).

A plastic milk bottle.


Tough scissors

Sharp knife (I borrowed by dad's little Leatherman.)

Rotary tool with a grinding thing on the end - I used my dad's cheap cordless one.

Things to poke into small gaps and press Sugru into place - I used scredrivers and an old pen.

Step 2: Using the Sugru

This is from the Sugru website.

For best results, we suggest washing and drying your hands before use.
  1. Choose the sachet size you’d like to use and cut open with a scissors
  2. Roll the sugru® in your hands to limber it up … 30 seconds should be more than enough
  3. Apply and form sugru …in your own style ! After approx 30 mins it will start to cure. At that point, it’s best to stop reforming sugru.
  4. Leave to cure overnight: it will cure 3mm deep in 24 hrs, and deeper pieces may take longer.
tip! Use sugru at 21C if possible. Warm conditions will speed up cure time and cold will slow it down…

How to get the most from your sugru:
• Ensure surfaces are clean, dry and free of dust and grease
• After use, wash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and a rag.
• sugru may leave a mark on surfaces or stain fabrics.
• If necessary, sugru can be removed by cutting off when cured.
• Store in a cool dry place below 21C.

Careful Now
• Don’t use sugru to stick up heavy objects.
• sugru isn’t suitable for use on some plastics.
• sugru will not stick to every kind of material – if you’re unsure, it’s best to do a small test first.
• sugru isn’t suitable for use in direct or prolonged contact with food.
• Keep out of reach of children.  (Shhh!  Don't tell them I'm using it...)

Step 3: The Handle

This is the most important bit for my Grandma.  She doesn't have very much strength in her grip.

I used the handle of the milk bottle to make a sort of hook.

I folded one end of the handle in on itself to hide sharp edges and hold up Sugru.

Sugru doesn't stick to some kinds of plastic, so I made sure it would stick to the DS by roughing up the surface with the rotary tool.

(I had to do it twice, because I roughed up the wrong bit first, but my brother spotted the mistake before it was too late!)

A sausage of sugru around inside of the handle, and a sausage around outside the handle held it in place.  I used the pokey things to reach inside the handle and press the sugru down.


Step 4: The Buttons.

I scuffed up the surface of the buttons with the grinder thing, and added little blobs of sugru to the direction buttons, to stop my grandma's thumb sliding off.  I used the edge of a flat screwdriver to make slots in them.

I put little blobs on the XYAB buttons as well, and made a little dip in the middle of the blobs.

The slots and dimples mean my grandma can hit the buttons with the stylus, so she doesn't have to fumble about putting the stylus down and picking it up again.


Step 5: The Stylus

Styli* are really skinny, and my grandma has trouble picking them up and holding them tight enough to use.

I added a fat blob of sugru to make it easier to hold, and made the blob roughly triangular, which helps stop it rolling away as well.

The fat stylus won't fit in the special hole, so I trimmed a bit off the already-open edge of the handle, and now the stylus drops in there (that was my brother's idea as well).

*Oh, look, Latin!

Step 6: What Grandmother?

Clever readers will have spotted that my grandma isn't in the photos.

Two reasons:

First, she doesn't like having her picture taken.

Second, she doesn't know about this yet - I'm going to take it up for her at Christmas.

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    27 Discussions

    Some of the styli have a slot in the back end. You could attach a cord to it there, and then tether it to the DS case--there's a niche on the case just to one side of the slot where the card goes, which is designed for just such a cord. Your Gramma is one lucky lady, to have you in her life! Bravo! For such a clever and thoughtful instructable!

    Might I sugest rolling a rounded file over the sugru on various places, particularly the stylus, to produce a grip with a larger surface area, which improves grip?

    Thanks for posting :) great tutorial!
    I have very weak grip and this is just what I need! I keep on stoping my DS and my mother isn't too impressed ;)

    Hi Conker-X, we love this hack. Hope your grnadma loves it too :)

    With the sugru on the 4 lettered buttons you may not know which are which. But nice instructable.

    I really like this idea. The buttons are a great add-on. Could you post a pic of someone actually holding it? I'd like to see it in use.
    (I'm guessing it's wrapped at this moment, so maybe after Christmas)

    So, don't take this the wrong way or anything, but...

    Wouldn't people with a bad grip on things have trouble writing easily on such a tiny screen? I know that even with a steady hand, BrainTrain doesn't recognize handwriting very easily.

    I like the idea a lot but what's that access panel you're covering up where the handle attaches?

    4 replies

    It's the battery panel.

    As Conker-X's brother pointed out, we've had a number of Gameboys and DSs over the years, and they have always given up physically (hunge splitting, buttons wearing out etc) before their batteries caused problems.

    Ah, gotcha. I haven't owned a DS and I forgot they have rechargeable batteries. Hopefully you won't have to mess with yours!

    I'm sure your grandmother (and mother) will love it. Be sure to post some pics of her using it after Christmas!

    See step six - she hates having her photo taken (and video is even worse - a friend's wedding video has a long shot of everybody leaving the church, with her voice coming from behind the camera saying "I'm going out the side door if that camera's there!")

    Whoops, forgot about that part. Well, I hope you can get pics with someone using it so we can all see how the handle is used.

    Not just a handle, but nice custom buttons, too - and in a colour that really stands out, for those with a visual impairment that isn't too severe to stop them playing in the first place...

    Nintendo could learn a lot from this, Conker-X - well done.