Bryan DeMaster is the new Director of Engineering at Xymox Technologies. We are excited to have him on board! We sat down with him for a few moments and asked some questions. Here’s what we found out.

You’re a few months into your new position as Director of Engineering at Xymox. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in the small town of Oostburg, Wisconsin, the youngest of three children. I graduated in 2003 from Milwaukee School of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. I have spent most of my career serving in various engineering and management roles in the automotive and on-road/off-road heavy equipment markets. My wife and I met in college, have been married for 16 years, and have two children (6th and 3rd graders). As a family we enjoy spending time outside, playing board games and having family movie nights (we just finished up watching the “Night at the Museum” trilogy).

In your time on the job, what’s the most surprising thing you have learned?
Two things rank up there. On the membrane switch side of things, I was initially surprised at the sheer number of different material layers used in the design and manufacture of a membrane switch. Functionally, membrane switches seem pretty simple, but if you add up all the materials, layers, and processes, there really is a lot going on there from a manufacturing standpoint.

On the capacitive sensor side of things, there is the wonder of PEDOT, an organic, flexible, transparent, conductive material used in PCAP sensors and touchscreens. It can be selectively screen printed in ink form or have its conductivity selectively de-activated through processing of an already coated sheet. To me, the wonders of how all that works is pretty amazing.

What do you enjoy most about working at Xymox?
It probably sounds cliché, but without a doubt I would say the people. As with any company, you really can only go so far with technology, processes and capital equipment. The people make the difference and Xymox has a great team, devoted to doing the best they can for the company, our customers and for each other.

2020 has been a turbulent year. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the industry as we near 2021 and into 2021?
There is still some economic uncertainty. While we are starting to see some increase in backlog, the focus of 2020 (and possibly a good portion of 2021) has been cost management. I hope customers treat cost management not as a stand-alone strategy, but as a strategy to protect resources to be able to further their research, development and innovation efforts despite a challenging economic environment.

From a technical standpoint, it will be interesting to see how our customers and their end-users view human-machine interfaces moving forward. In the short-term, we can see trends of certain markets with “high-touch” applications desiring interfaces that can be easily washed, wiped or sprayed down. This drives greater expectations around chemical compatibility and fluid ingress protection which Xymox is currently well-positioned to support. In the longer-term, the question remains as to whether that will be sufficient, that need will diminish or whether end-users of certain applications will demand a touchless interaction (e.g. 3D gesturing, voice recognition, etc). While the technology for touchless interaction is still maturing, we will need to keep an eye on those trends and adapt accordingly.

Tell us something that others may not know about you, professionally or personally or both.
Professionally, I had the opportunity 15-20 years ago to work on a night vision system that used near-infrared LEDs, gated light-intensifier tubes and time-of-flight techniques to “illuminate” selective depths of physical space. Unfortunately, it never ended up going anywhere commercially, but was pretty cool technology nonetheless, especially for a younger engineer.

On a personal note, I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer a couple years ago. I was raised in a Christian home and, while it has been one of the most challenging things our family has gone through, I really got to see a first-hand model of faith and strength from both of my parents through that season. That, in turn, helped to grow my faith and is something for which I will always be thankful.

 What book is currently on your nightstand?
I just started reading “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel, which so far has been an interesting read. I read primarily for knowledge or information as opposed to entertainment or recreation. While that may change as I get older, if I were presented an opportunity to read a book today for entertainment, I would probably ask if it also came out as a movie…and then watch the movie.