VoltSafe Blog Team – April 5, 2023

Yoonha Lee, Mechatronics Engineering Co-Op, Future Quartermaster at MI6 & Bubly Connoisseur

His name is Lee….Yoonha Lee. He’s more like our Q than a 00 agent. When not busy building equipment for safety tests at VoltSafe, Lee spends his spare time watching engineering and robotics videos featuring popular Youtubers. He also enjoys hanging out with his friends.

Yoohha introduced himself as Lee to VoltSafe’s team. He chose to go by his last name when he began university. It was easier than teaching others to pronounce his first name. He also thought that since university signalled a new chapter in his life, it would be fitting to be addressed by a new name.

For Lee, engineering was not a field he intended to pursue. He liked art and drawing, but it was the Mars Rover that inspired an interest in building things. He liked the idea that you could build and program something to perform a task for you. As an engineering physics student at UBC he got to pick his specialty and mechatronics allowed him to work with physical things. He enjoyed the combination of working with both electrical and building components.

During his interview with VoltSafe, he realized that the work here would challenge him based on a particular question on circuitry. After answering the question, Lee, in turn, asked a question of his own. He wanted to know what the interview panel of senior engineers at VoltSafe liked about working here. He suggested that their answer should be about something others would overlook, like, “I like the chair I sit on”. The interviewers looked at each other, smiled and said it was an endless supply of Bubly. How does one get an endless supply of Bubly? Well when the engineers resurrect a CO2 tank, an old Soda Stream machine and buy Bubly flavour bottles. That sold him on a position here. Lee soon discovered VoltSafe’s products and solutions were a leap forward from what we accept as status quo, and he knew we had something special. But most of all, he wanted to be a part of working on the products and solutions being developed at the company. He was so impressed by the potential of VoltSafe’s technology on the market in terms of demand-side management and safety. 

Since this is Lee’s first co-op experience, there isn’t any one particular project he is working on; rather, he is using his training to work on general tasks such as AC circuit analysis, project planning, procuring parts, setting up and planning builds of products. He developed many of these skills while participating in the air design team at UBC, where he built RC planes. He’s also picked up several tips and tricks from his mentors, power electronics engineers, Shahbaj Dhillion and Keenan Bell. Lee shares how Keenan has shown him how to narrow down the parts required for the project. Knowing how certain parts function would allow him to determine whether or not the part would serve the project’s purpose. Keenan has also taught him multiple fixes to resolve a circuit board issue.

Spending his education and co-op experience in  circuitry and robotics, Lee sees our lives becoming more automated even if some people are uneasy about it. He provides a few examples like ordering take out or groceries online and having them delivered in minutes. This has automated the task of preparing meals or buying groceries and walking in and picking up your order. Everything from ordering to payment to delivery is taken care of with an app. Same applies to grocery orders and online shopping where drones deliver the product to you the same day. He believes that automation is actually helpful because it helps to direct our focus on tasks that cannot be automated. In his case, automating meals or groceries means more time for other things, like homework.

Lee enjoys the working culture at VoltSafe and immediately noticed that everyone looks happy to be at work. He recognizes that he has benefited from joining a startup as his first co-op opportunity. Other than the culture itself, he’s learning some valuable lessons from experiencing challenging tasks first-hand. Learning what a company goes through to develop a product, then getting it to a stage where it can be commercialized is a valuable experience. Most people may see the idea, but most of the time all they see is the finished product on shelves. They don’t get the opportunity to witness the brainstorming sessions and funding rounds, the hustle to establish partnerships to get to the final product. Lee appreciates being a part of monthly company meetings where business challenges, deadlines and goals are addressed. Everyone is invited to contribute and provide feedback. This experience gives employees more connection to the company and its products. 

When not spending time at VoltSafe, Lee keeps busy with the engineering design team at UBC, building RC planes. But a personal project near and dear to his heart was one he worked on with a friend. It was inspired by optical lasers found in CD players. The goal of the project was to determine if they could increase the laser’s strength to see what else could be achieved with it. Their objective was to create a laser pointer that was powerful enough to set something on fire. Does sound like something that a 00 agent would carry, right?

Since mechanics and robotics are his specialty, we posed a question to Lee that if he could build a Transformer robot, what would it turn into and what would its name be? Lee thought with the price of real estate in Vancouver at an all time high, creating a robotic car that could transform into a house rather than a robot would be ideal. That way you could travel wherever you wanted to and when it came time to rest your head it would turn into a tiny house. I know most of you are thinking, isn’t that an RV? But what if you had a Matrix that transformed into a tiny house? As for the transformer’s name? Well, it would be called… HAUS.

The coolest thing about VoltSafe’s products and tech for Lee is that we’ve taken a product society uses every day and improved on it. What impressed him the most was that the potential of the electrical outlet had been overlooked for so many years. No one thought about improving it to build in a safety feature or allow customers to control their power usage from the outlet level until he discovered VoltSafe. He points to VoltSafe Marine as an example of an improvement to shore power that should be on the market now. He sees it as a major leap forward in safety and marine management. It seems strange to him that no one has thought of these improvements before, or if so, acted on it. 

Lee is looking forward to taking some of the lessons he has learned at VoltSafe back to school with him as he continues his education. If you are a post-secondary student and would like to join our co-op program and gain some invaluable and exciting new skills, check out our careers page or follow us on LinkedIn.