A Norwich graduate is on a mission to help the more than 50pc of gamers struggling with hand and wrist problems, with a new product designed to improve grip.

Sam Coombes, who graduated from the UEA in 2018, was inspired to act after seeing his younger brother spending more time on his games console during lockdown.

As a gamer himself, Mr Coombes, 27, said he was concerned about the impact it would have on his hand health, with conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome affecting more than half of those who use handheld controllers, according to a study by the University of Malta.

He said: “People who play a lot of games might find themselves unable to use their hands later in life, just because they enjoyed playing games when they were younger.

“Often you don’t notice the problems you’re causing until you’re 30 and realise 10 years of gaming means you’re struggling with your hands.”

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Grips that attach to console controllers already exist, but Mr Coombes says it’s the material of his Exogrip product that makes it unique.

Made from the same EVA material as gum guards used in sports like hockey, the grips use heat to mould to the exact contours of a user’s hands.

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Mr Coombes said this allows it to “act like an exoskeleton”, protecting the bones and muscles in the wrist and hand by keeping them in an ergonomic position.

Eastern Daily Press: The Exogrip, designed by UEA graduate Sam Coombes, to improve gamers' gripsThe Exogrip, designed by UEA graduate Sam Coombes, to improve gamers' grips (Image: Sam Coombes)

He said: “It’s taken a while to develop this because the material has never been used in this way."

Going forward, the graduate hopes to use the material to create tools for people struggling with their grip after having a stroke.

He added: “We’re hoping this initial product will fund us on more projects to help people. That’s the goal.”