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Grant Imahara          

Electronics and Radio Control Expert; Former Host on Discovery's "Mythbusters," and Animatronics Engineer

For almost a decade, Grant Imahara was one of the hosts of Discovery Channel's Mythbusters. Using a blend of science and fun, he put urban legends to the test, sometimes with explosive results. Since joining the team in January 2005, Grant tested hundreds of myths, and in the process swam with sharks, hung from the skids of a helicopter, fired cheese out of a cannon into the San Francisco Bay, allowed 25 tarantulas to crawl on his head, dropped a BMW from an aircraft, sliced a car in half using a rocket sled, destroyed so many cars he's stopped counting, and built many, many robots, all in the name of science.

Before becoming a Mythbuster, Grant worked in movie special effects as an animatronics engineer and modelmaker for George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic in Marin County, California. He specialized in electronics and radio control at the ILM Model Shop, and has credits on numerous movies, including Jurassic Park: The Lost World, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Galaxy Quest, AI: Artificial Intelligence, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Matrix: Reloaded and Revolutions, and most recently, Van Helsing and Star Wars: Episode III.

He installed electronics in the R2-D2 units for Star Wars Episodes I and II, replacing the halogen light source and rotating color wheel (for the sparkly displays) with a custom microcontroller-based LED circuit that was originally created to make the pulsating lights for the main engines of the Protector, from Galaxy Quest. He also upgraded all of the radio equipment and speed controls to modern standards. Along with R2-D2 Crew Chief Don Bies and Nelson Hall, he was one of only three official R2-D2 operators in the United States.

Grant developed a custom circuit to cycle the Energizer Bunny's arm beats and ears at a constant rate. He performed all electronics installation and radio programming on the current generation of Bunnies. He later became the Bunny's driver and the Crew Supervisor on numerous commercials in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Mexico, and New Zealand.

For fun, Grant competed in Comedy Central’s BattleBots with his fighting robot "Deadblow," which he designed and built from scratch. Deadblow won two Middleweight Rumbles and was the Middleweight runner-up in 2000. It set a record for most number of hits in the first season of the show, and was ranked number one in Season 3.0.

In 2003, Wiley Technology Publishing released Grant’s book Kickin’ Bot: An Illustrated Guide to Building Combat Robots. At 528 pages long, it is regarded by many in the combat robot-building community as the “bible” for that sport. It has a five-star average customer review on Amazon.com.

Grant appeared on TLC’s Junkyard Wars in a two-hour special called “Junkyard Wars Goes to the Movies” as the captain of Team ILM. They created a 13-foot tall R2-D2 out of junk in 20 hours that was equipped with a flamethrower, hydraulic lifting arm and CO2 pneumatic projectile gun. Team ILM won the competition, which challenged the junkyard machines to destroy a fleet of attacking aliens with their various weapons.

Most recently, Grant designed and built the rude and often irreverent robot skeleton sidekick Geoff Peterson for the popular CBS late night talk show The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Grant has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California and is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has been on the cover of ROBOT Magazine, IEEE Spectrum, and MAKE Magazine. Over the years, he has garnered numerous official commendations from various organizations, including the City of Los Angeles, the City of San Francisco, and The White House.

His skill set includes electronics design and fabrication, machining, welding, woodworking, CAD layout, hydraulics, pneumatics, CNC programming, vacuum forming, and laser cutting, as well as modelmaking, moldmaking and paint.

Speech Topics


Innovation

Engineering in Entertainment

A Retrospective Of My Career In Movies And Television

The Special Effects of Star Wars Episodes 1-3

Behind the Scenes with R2-D2 and C-3P0

Designing and Building a Champion Battlebot

Behind the Scenes of Mythbusters

News


What happened to Grant Imahara – 2016 News and Updates - The ...

Science, robots and explosions. If three words could sum up the past decade for Grant Imahara, it would likely be these. Since beginning work as a cast member ...

Mouser Electronics and Grant Imahara Launch Groundbreaking ...

Dallas & Fort Worth, Texas, July 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Mouser Electronics Inc . today announced that celebrity engineer Grant Imahara and former ...

Grant Imahara is Building a Working, Laser-Shooting Iron Man Gaunlet

We always thought one of the MythBusters might turn out to be Tony Stark... Former MythBuster and all around engineering wizard Grant Imahara is more ...

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