Location: Baltimore, Maryland United States
Company: Compressent LLC
Inspired by: A couple years ago, I had a conversation with a biomechanical engineer, about proprioception, sensory input, and the individual’s subconscious awareness of the body in space. In doing further research, I found that people on the autism spectrum, in particular, experience difficulty with this. What I learned resonated with me, as I am on the spectrum. It reinforced things I personally experienced, such as a lack of coordination and the way a hug’s compression has a calming effect. As someone with Asperger’s who was practically non-verbal until the age of 19, I have a unique insight into designing for unnamed stresses and how to cope with them. I started looking for products on the market that provide compression to help people self-calm and be productive. What I learned is that there are very few products available; some examples include weighted blankets, weighted belts, and pressure vests. These products all have one thing in common: they create stigma for users in public spaces, compelling them to disconnect from their environment. I found that nothing exists for an individual who is experiencing stress, anxiety, or sensory overload to use at work. I saw this as an opportunity to create products that could offer compression (or pressure) to calm overstimulation to help people remain engaged in their work. This led to the creation of the Compressent Desk Chair.
My designs are inspired by the needs of neurodiverse individuals and the imperative to find solutions that are rooted in universal design. My goal is to explore and develop other products that help neurodiverse individuals manage in the world—even if they are not actively aware that barriers exist for them. I am dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to opportunities to achieve the highest possible quality of life. I strive to create opportunities for individuals to integrate into society without barriers or exceptions.