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