Grant Masaru Imahara (October 23, 1970 – July 13, 2020) was an American electrical engineer, roboticist, and television host. He was best known for his work on the television series MythBusters, in which he designed and built numerous robots that were needed for the show, and specialized in operating the various computers and electronics that were utilized to test myths.
Imahara starred in the Netflix series White Rabbit Project released on December 9, 2016.
1 Personal life
2.1 Early work
2.3 White Rabbit Project
2.4 Other work
5 External links
Imahara was a graduate of the University of Southern California, with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. For a time, he seriously considered switching majors, with the intention of becoming a screenwriter; he decided to stay on the engineering track after assisting Tomlinson Holman, a professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Imahara was also a passionate LARPer, as revealed on White Rabbit Project.
In December 2016, Imahara became engaged to his long-time girlfriend, costume designer Jennifer Newman.
After graduation, Imahara was hired as an engineer for Lucasfilm's THX division; he then moved to the company's visual effects division, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), where he worked for nine years. While at ILM, he was involved in films such as The Lost World: Jurassic Park, 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, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Van Helsing, and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
Imahara was credited in many feature films as a model maker. In particular, he was credited for his work in updating the aging R2-D2 robots for the Star Wars prequel trilogy. As an official Artoo Technician, he makes a cameo appearance in the mockumentary R2-D2: Beneath the Dome.
See also: List of MythBusters cast members
Imahara joined MythBusters on the invitation of friend and occasional employer Jamie Hyneman and former ILM colleague Linda Wolkovitch, who was an associate producer of MythBusters. He joined as the third member of the Build Team, replacing former MythBusters welder Scottie Chapman. His colleagues often jokingly refer to him as the "geek" of the Build Team. He often makes the robots that are needed for the show and otherwise specializes in operating the computers and electronics for the myths. On August 21, 2014, Hyneman and MythBusters co-host Adam Savage announced that Imahara, along with cast members Kari Byron and Tory Belleci, would be leaving the show.
White Rabbit Project
Along with colleagues Kari Byron and Tory Belleci, Imahara hosted the Netflix Original Series White Rabbit Project, in which the team investigated topics such as jailbreaks, superpower technology, heists, and bizarre World War II weapons, evaluated against a defined set of criteria and explored through experiments, builds, and tests. The complete first season of the series was released on the Netflix streaming service December 9, 2016, but the series was not renewed.
Imahara was a cast member and story writer for the short film Architects of Evil, created for the 2004 Industrial Light and Magic Backyard Film Contest. He mentors the Richmond High robotics team Biomechs #841 (Richmond Ca.) for the FIRST Robotics Competition, lending his expert guidance on how to create the right robot for the right job. Imahara was profiled in the magazine IEEE Spectrum, in an issue focusing on engineering dream jobs. The article was titled "Grant Imahara: Debunker in The Box.; he was shown in a fire-resistant suit on the cover.
One of Imahara's independent projects, during early 2010, was constructing a robotic sidekick for Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show. The robot, named Geoff Peterson, was unveiled on the April 5, 2010 Late Late Show episode and is controlled and voiced by comedian and voice actor Josh Robert Thompson.
Imahara portrayed Mr. Sulu in all 11 episodes of the web series Star Trek Continues.
Imahara was interviewed on TWiT's Triangulation (Episode 121) on September 25, 2013.
Imahara played Lt. Masaru in the 2015 movie Star Trek Renegades.
Imahara has also partnered with Mouser Electronics to kick off their "Empowering Innovation Together" campaign, where he will host several webisodes.
In 2015, he appeared in the TV movie Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!.
Imahara took an active part in advising Team USA in a giant-robot battle between American company MegaBots and Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industry.
Imahara hosted the second season of the web series The Home of the Future, produced by The Verge in partnership with Curbed.
On October 18, 2017, Imahara tweeted that he had been consulting for Walt Disney Imagineering for six months, for a "top secret" project. On May 21, 2018, Imahara was included as an author on the Disney Research paper "Stickman: Towards a Human Scale Acrobatic Robot", which explores the creation of "a simple two degree of freedom robot that uses a gravity-driven pendulum launch and produces a variety of somersaulting stunts". On June 29, 2018, Disney revealed that the Stickman prototype had evolved into an innovative, autonomous, self-correcting, acrobatic style of audio-animatronic figure, named Stuntronics, which will be utilised within Disney Theme Parks throughout the world.
Imahara died from a sudden brain aneurysm on July 13, 2020, at age 49.
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