MythBusters engineer shares interesting career projects

By Shawn Adderly

Friday night at Foellinger Auditorium, Grant Imahara of the popular TV show MythBusters spoke about some high points in his career.

Imahara came to campus as part of the 89th annual Engineering Open House and spoke about his work as an electronics and radio control specialist for MythBusters in between discussion of other parts of his career, He said his favorite myth the show tested is “a luxury car drop coming up in the new season.”

Imahara said the crew performs a lot of work to set up its myths and prove or disprove them by science.

“There really is a lot of work involved in doing the show,” Imahara said. “That is why we were hired. We are not actors. It’s because of our building abilities.”

Students in the audience were enthused by the chance to see Imahara, including Stephanie Baker, sophomore in Engineering.

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“I use to watch MythBusters religiously,” Baker said. “It was cool to see Mr. Imahara in person.”

Imhara said he hopes people do not believe all engineers are nerds.

“To be a nerd you do not have to be an engineer,” Imahara said. “I’m doing my best to dispel the myth that all engineers are nerds.”

Imahara spent most of his presentation discussing three projects he enjoyed working on during his career.

One of those projects was the Energizer Bunny.

“The Energizer Bunny is a complex robot,” Imahara said.

He also mentioned that the bunny initially traveled across the country in a trailer similar to those used to transport race cars. The trailer allowed for a portable machine shop to fix the bunny when it broke down.

Grant spent part of his career as an engineer on George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic team. During that time, he was involved in special effects for major motion pictures such as “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” “Galaxy Quest,” and “Terminator 3.”

He was also involved in the creation of R2-D2, a “Star Wars” robot character. Imahara said the old R2-D2 had two legs because a small actor was actually inside the unit. The R2-D2 in the new prequel is robotically controlled because advances in radio control were available at the time of the prequel’s shooting.

Imahara showed pictures of himself traveling around the world shooting commercials and making appearances as a costume appearance actor for the “Star Wars” character C-3PO.