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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Eric Wilhelm, 31

Putting DIY projects online

Instructables

When Eric Wilhelm finished his PhD in mechanical engineering at MIT, he and three friends started Squid Labs, a consultancy based in Emeryville, CA, that finds fixes for clients' technical problems (how to make solar-collecting concrete, for example). But Squid Labs was also founded as a place where the colleagues could explore their own projects and ideas--funding them through their consulting jobs. In 2005, Wilhelm had an idea for a how-to website where people could share step-by-step visual instructions for original projects. The team spun the site out into its own company, and Instructables was born.

Wilhelm had hit upon the idea at the right time, just as the spirit behind open-source software began permeating other technological fields. Instructables offers its growing community of more than 300,000 registered users an easy way to document do-it-yourself technology projects and share ideas with others. --Kate Greene

2008 TR35 Winners

Blaise Agüera y Arcas

Building immersive 3-D environments

Dries Buytaert (video)

Simple, flexible Web publishing

Jenova Chen (video)

Gaming with the flow

Tanzeem Choudhury (video)

Inferring social networks automatically

Jack Dorsey (video)

Personal updates made simple

Stefanus Du Toit (video)

Programming for parallel processors

Seth Hallem

Deconstructing software to find bugs

Xian-Sheng Hua

Enhancing video search

Sundar Iyer

Making memory at Internet speed

Farinaz Koushanfar

Locking microchips to prevent piracy

Johnny Lee (video)

Streamlining human-computer interactions

Meredith Ringel Morris (video)

Searching websites jointly

Andrew Ng

Building household robots

Adam Smith (video)

Making sense of e-mail madness

JB Straubel (video)

Engineering electric sports cars

Eric Wilhelm (video)

Putting DIY projects online

Robert Wood (video)

Building robotic flies

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