Herschel Ruben


Herschel Ruben is from Baltimore, Maryland where he is a Product Design major at the Maryland Institute College of Art. His professional interests are in ergonomics and designing products around user needs and behaviors by assessing and responding to human factors. His biggest strengths are understanding spatial constraints, an instinctive awareness of how things work—the mechanics and human factors in the design of objects and systems and how they intersect, and making things come to life. He values sustainability, community, and balance.


The Compressent Desk Chair is for individuals on the autism spectrum who experience overstimulation of the nervous system and need a calming mechanism in order to be productive in their everyday lives. Deep pressure touch, particularly when it can be self-controlled, is a means of alleviating the need to disconnect to calm down. Finding a way for this to be applied in everyday life led to designing a product that could be used—without stigma—in any work environment.



The Compressent Desk Chair helps people remain engaged while self-regulating compression. The nervous systems of people on the autism spectrum are hypersensitive to light, taste, sound, smell and touch. For them, even the smallest stimuli can feel overwhelming. When these systems get overloaded, it can cause a fight or flight response that can disrupt workflow. Pressure on certain points in the proprioceptive nervous system, such as the outer thigh and shoulders, can calm or prevent sensory overload.

The Compressent Desk Chair will impact the lives of the people who use it because it allows them to remain calm and productive in the work environment. This product will also serve myriad populations who have the need to regulate their physical sensory needs, such as individuals with Fragile X syndrome, ADHD, etc.

Video presentation including all project process

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