Make Believers

Geeks, freaks and entrepreneurs collide at Maker Faire, an innovation bazaar held twice a year. Meet some of this year's Makers.

1 of 6
Bopping along to the Thingamagoop
Will Guy

John-Michael Reed, a.k.a. "Dr. Bleep"
Synthesizer builder

John-Michael Reed, a.k.a. Dr. Bleep, is in the Thingamagoop business. That's what Reed, 27, calls the tiny analog synthesizers he created with designer Will Guy, 38. (Analog synthesizers use non-digital circuits, like electric guitars, and enjoyed their heyday in the 1970s with brands such as Moog.) A Thingamagoop's bleeps and squawks are modulated by knobs, switches and light levels. Each box has an eye stalk with an LED lamp attached; the closer the lamp is to the photosensors on the box, the higher the pitch of the Thingamagoop.

These odd little devices are sold for $120, often through boutique stores in the U.S., Canada, Japan and Europe. Bleep Labs does no marketing. The boutiques simply found him online. So far, Bleep Labs has produced about 2,000 Thingamagoops. The parts cost about $30, and it takes Reed and a couple of friends an hour and a half to assemble each one.

"It's still on a garage scale," Reed says. "The challenge is making the leap to a wider audience without getting rid of the homemade aspect that made the Thingamagoop cool in the first place." For now, at least, the pair are making some noise.

NEXT: Better living through beads
LAST UPDATE: Feb 12 2009 | 5:42 PM ET
Sponsored by
More Galleries
Commuting is getting easier. Here's why The MobiPrize, conducted by SMART at the University of Michigan, recognizes innovation in global transportation. From microcars to auto rickshaws, these six startups are some of the standouts. More
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More
Banks won't lend? Use these guys instead Banks often have exhaustive approval processes, high minimums, and flawless credit requirements. But there's a wealth of non-bank alternatives for those who need capital fast. Here are some of the leaders. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.