The Electro-mechanical characterization station that I set up

Skywalker Station – The automated electro-mechanical sensor characterization station  built by yours truly



I am Benjamin Tee, Ph.D Electrical Engineering from Stanford University class of 2013.

I am currently a Scientist at the Institute of Material Science and Engineering (IMRE) in Singapore developing breakthrough electronic skin technologies. I am also a Stanford Biodesign Global Innovation Fellow, and have been spending the past two years exploring and learning from renowned mentors in medical needs and technology commercialization. I recently co-founded Privi Medical, a seed-funded company looking at gastro-intestinal medical technology innovations.

My PhD research focused on flexible and stretchable electronics for sensing applications. I seek to mimic the amazing qualities and sensing performance of human skin on an electronic platform. I use soft organic materials to manufacture large area electronic skins that sense mechanical forces. My research has led me to develop both capacitive and piezo-resistive pressure sensors. Pressure sensors are widely used today to sense human presence (think car seats) and touch sensors on human-computer interactive devices (think iphone, ipad). Combining both pressure/touch in a reliable and sensitive manner turns out to be more difficult than you think. The iphone touchscreen can sense where your finger is, but not how hard you are pressing on the gorilla glass screen. Now that Apple has come up with 3D Touch and ForceTouch, pressure information is clearly where a lot of innovations in human-device interaction will occur. Having both pressure and location information will empower next generation intuitive 3D human-computer interfaces (Right on target).

During my graduate student career, I had immersed myself in the world of chemists, physicists, bio-engineers and material scientists because I believe that the future of science is collaborative and integrative in nature. Innovative applications will no doubt employ a variety of knowledge from different disciplines. Such cross-disciplinary driven approach prevents me from becoming silo-ed in my own knowledge domain. I helped setup my research group’s website, which is something which I do for fun. Along the way, I got myself into the Stanford d.school and loved every minute I was there. Now, I’m in a splendid environment in Fusionopolis, where I get to work right across the Sandcrawler, the building modelled after Star Wars, with its own Yoda statue(!)

I earned my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering (EE) from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (class of ’03) and a Masters (EE) from Stanford (class of ’06). I am grateful to the people of Singapore for my knowledge acquisition.