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News & Events

03-30-2009

Mythbusters’ Grant Imahara at Clarkson University Saturday

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/imahara.jpg ]

Grant Imahara of the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters will appear at Clarkson University this Saturday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the Alumni Gym.

A limited number of tickets remain for $5 to the general public and free to Clarkson students with a current ID.Myth busters

Tickets will be available for sale from 3-5 p.m. this Tuesday-Thursday, March 31-April 2, in CAMP Building Room 100 on the Clarkson campus.

Before becoming a Mythbuster, Grant Imahara was an animatronics engineer and model-maker 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 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 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, many combat robot-building enthusiasts regard it 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.

Grant’s skill set includes electronics design and fabrication, machining, welding, woodworking, CAD layout, pneumatics, CNC programming, and laser cutting, as well as some mold-making and paint.

If you have any questions, please call 315-268-3785.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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