Grant-Imahara-wolfman-rightBefore becoming a Mythbuster, Grant Imahara was 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 has installed electronics in R2-D2 units for Star Wars Episodes I and II, replacing the halogen light source and rotating color wheel (for the sparkly lights) 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 is one of only three official R2-D2 operators in the United States.

Grant-Imahara-wolfman-left1Grant 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.


Grant has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California. He picked up his mechanical skills from the machinists at the ILM Model Shop, many of whom date back to Howard the Duck (1986).

For fun, Grant has competed in Comedy Central’s BattleBots with his robot “Deadblow,” which he designed and built. 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 on 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 combat robot-building enthusiasts as the “bible” for that sport. It has a five-star average customer review on


“Grant Imahara had an enthusiastic audience packing the Great Hall Thursday night in spite of dreadful winter weather. While the faculty and community members in the audience really enjoyed his presentation, most were students who were laughing, clapping, and cheering throughout the entire evening. Everyone enjoyed Grant’s great behind-the-scenes photos – building Star Wars models, appearing as C3P0, working on the Myth Busters’ set, as well as a clip from his White Rabbit Project show. Many students lined up at the microphones to ask him questions, where he gave humorous and lengthy answers that had the students roaring with laughter once again. The Engineers’ Week student planners really enjoyed closing out the evening with a private meeting where he shared additional stories.” – Pat Miller, Director, Lectures Program – Iowa State University

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