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How Inventor Ben Gulak Went From Science-Fair Nerd to the Playboy Mansion

POSTED:
Ben Gulak with his Shredder in Los Angeles, October, 2011
Ben Gulak with his Shredder in Los Angeles, October, 2011
Courtesy of Ben Gulak

This profile is from our Hot Issue.

Here's how to get geek cred: Invent a Segway that's actually cool. As a high schooler, Ben Gulak invented a one-wheeled motorcycle, the Uno, which Popular Science crowned the 2008 "Invention of the Year." That earned the 17-year-old a pile of investment cash and an invitation to Playboy's Halloween party. "Everyone's in lingerie," Gulak recalls. "I went from these dorky science-fair projects to hanging with Playmates. It's ridiculous."

Now 22 and an MIT student, Gulak has created the DTV Shredder, a small all-terrain vehicle with Segway-like handlebars and wheels like a tank's. It zips over just about anything at 30 miles per hour, boasts a 200cc engine, is powerful enough to tow up to 400 pounds and has earned fans among the X Games set.

Says Gulak, "My work has become this fun part of my life – work and play, it's one and the same."

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The Hot List: The Best, Brightest and Baddest of 2011

This story is from the November 10, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone.

NEXT: Prep-Auteur Whit Stillman Returns With a College Comedy

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