Grant Masaru Imahara is an American electronics, robotics and radio control expert and television host, best known for his work on the American television show MythBusters.
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Hi, reddit, it's Grant Imahara, TV host, engineer, maker, and special effects technician. My new show, White Rabbit Project, with Kari Byron and Tory Belleci is now available for streaming on Netflix. Ask me about that, MythBusters, Star Wars, my shop, working in special effects, whatever you want.
This is not my first AMA, but it's my first solo one, so I'm excited (and maybe a little nervous)!
Hey Grant! I met you a few years ago after I had cancer. I was the dude who worked at reddit and came by to meet you and the rest of the build team. I gave you guys some reddit stickers, and you stuck one on the toolbox in the Mythbusters shop. You were super nice to me and said you hoped my recovery would go well.
Just wanted to let you know I'm almost 3 years in remission. :)
Hope you're doing well, too!
Hey man! Congrats!! BTW I still have that Reddit sticker on my toolbox.
What was your favorite thing to explode?
It's hard to say! Probably Homemade Diamonds. But each explosive is so different. C4 is really quick pop. ANFO is what you use to move big things. Gasoline makes pretty flames.
Congrats on the engagement, Grant!
Are we gonna see any new cool robots from you in White Rabbit? Looking forward to watching the show!
Freeze ray. Jousting simulator robot. And I might have made a flying hoverboard. But you know, you'll just have to see for yourself!
Long time MythBusters fan and have caught you speak at a couple cons!
My question is, do you enjoy playing any video games in your down time?
Not much down time these days. I'm an old school FPS guy, using mouse and keyboard. Just started playing Overwatch. Currently, JunkRat is my favorite character to play. (But I'm trying to learn all the others too.)
Hey Grant do Jamie and Adam really not get along?
That's a common misconception. They don't "hang out" outside of work. But they respect each others' opinions and ideas and work together quite well.
Hey Grant 3 years ago when you did an AMA with Tori and Kari I asked you if you would build an Ironman suit and you replied with: EVERY. DAY.
So my question is, Hows your progress?
I built one of the gauntlets for a project I did with Mouser Electronics (for whom I am their "Celebrity Engineer" spokesman). It had a working laser that popped out the forearm and was able to pop a balloon across the room. So... pretty good so far.
Hey Grant!! On a scale from 1-10, how excited are you for Rogue One!?!
1 MILLION. From the first moment I saw the trailer, it was like I was right back in my childhood. Plus, I've known John Knoll since I was at ILM. He's a good guy and he gets it. CAN'T WAIT.
You might want to let your netflix overlords know it isn't popping up in the new, recently added, or promotional spots. I only found it with the search.
Doing press for a streaming show is very different from broadcast. With broadcast, they're all like "Coming soon..." "Coming real soon..." "Coming next week..."
With streaming, they don't want to talk about it until it's truly, actually LIVE on the site.
What is your favourite book? I'm trying to find a good book for my son
How old is he and what are his interests?
Do you feel any schadenfreude since Tory Belleci will be doing an AMA on the 16nth instead of seeing the movie?
HAHAHA ALL PART OF MY PLAN
What was your reaction when Mythbusters Inc. told you they were downsizing. Did you feel blown to the wind or did you take it as an opportunity to do a new project?
What do you think about the giant robot fight between USA and Japan?
It's going to happen. Just saw the guys last week and they're moving along. It's going to happen eventually.
Hi Grant!! Years ago,I remember you had trouble in Myspace probing you're real Grant,which I was touched.Now social media grew huge size,Do you have same passion to connect watchers?
Yes, of course! Through Reddit, Twitter and Facebook, I can reach out immediately and directly to fans.
Grant, don't know if you'll read this but you're seemingly active. Thanks so much for all you did in my thrusters, I loved it!
OH "my thrusters" = "MythBusters" LOLOLOLOLOLOL
That took way too long for me to figure out.
How did you get started in hobby electronics and do you still find time to build personal projects and the like? If not, do you miss it?
When I started in hobby electronics, you had to subscribe to magazines for new project ideas, Radio Shack still had millions of electronics parts, and there was no internet. It was not as easy then as it is now, since there's a huge online maker community.
I have a personal shop where I make things for myself and friends. Recently, I made a Ghostbusters reboot pack scaled down for my friend's 6-year-old daughter.
Well hey, at least it's not Mei
Mei takes too long. I like to move around a lot.
Hello grant. First congratulations on getting engaged. Second why is the netflix show called white rabbit? Also I will watch it soon. I'm in at work at the moment but is it available for us in Canada yet?
What if one of them got really drunk and was thrown in jail. Would they ever call the other as their "one phone call"?
No. However (and this goes for all of us) if we were ever abducted Taken-style, it would probably be Jamie. "I... uh... have a particular set of skills."
TRUE STORY: Jamie used to have a vacation rental in Mexico. There was a tropical storm and he went down to check on it. He packed a chainsaw and a generator.
EDIT: He packed ONLY a chainsaw and a generator.
Hi Grant, huge fan.
On a scale of 1-10, how hot do you think Kari Byron is?
Austin Powers voice She's 98.6 degrees, baby!
Will you take part in this new Mythbusters project of finding new mythbusters?
No, that is a new thing, and I likely won't be participating.
Would you consider building a power assisted suit? Mini-electric motors, cables, carbon fibre and aluminum frame covered in level III/IV ballistic plates?
That'd be close enough wouldn't it? Also, a 50lb backpack full of LiPO's (or an ultracapacitor array)
You... may be on to something there.
What is your favorite car you have driven and what do you have now?
What would be some potential myths you would have liked to test if you would not have been under the constraints of a family friendly show, or in short what nsfw myth would you have tested?
I used to have a Porsche Cayman. I miss that car. It never met a curve it didn't like at any speed. I miss my Toyota Tacoma truck. It was raised and had a lumber rack. I currently have a Tesla Model S. It's smooth and powerful, although a bit large for my taste.
Freeze ray? So you main Mei I take it.
OH MAN I just made the connection. Overwatch wasn't as huge when we filmed this build earlier in the year. If we had done this recently, I might have gone with Mei instead of Doctor Horrible LOL
Hi Grant, will we ever se Geoff Peterson ever again? I miss that lovable guy.
Geoff is safely in storage. All he needs is a battery charge and he'll be ready to go!
Hi Grant, how is the new show going to be similar to and yet different from Mythbusters?
White Rabbit Project will have me, Tory and Kari. We'll be building things, talking to interesting people, goofing off, and telling stories that are implausibly weird. Pretty much what you have come to expect from us. But the new show is slicker, prettier, the stories are bigger, and most importantly, everything on our show is based on fact. Unlikely historical events that ACTUALLY happened. Real cutting-edge tech that EXISTS or is about to exist. SCIENCE that is happening now. Interesting pop culture phenomenon.
Whose idea was it for this new show? You 3, or were you all approached with the idea?
Our executive producer from MythBusters John Luscombe approached us with a project idea for Netflix. We worked together with Martyn Ives (another MB alum) and Ryan Senter to develop White Rabbit Project.
I have a Ricoh Theta S 360 camera. I'll post some pictures later on my FB page!
But did it produce any gem stones?
It produced industrial-grade diamonds. Not the kind you might wear in a ring. Unless you wanted a really abrasive ring.
Temba! His arms open wide.
Do you have the autopilot?
Have you hacked the car in any way?
I tried an early version of autopilot. Decided I would wait for a later software update. I am happy with how the car works now. No need to hack it LOL
Learn to play Hanzo. Pick him all the time so you can get practice. Your teammates will appreciate you.
Really? Arrows didn't seem super effective. I'll give him another shot, tho.
hi grant, what multitool/knife do you always carry?
I started with a Leatherman Wave and had that for many years. Then I started carrying the Charge ALX because it had more tools like allen wrenches.
I don't have netflix...can I borrow your username and password to watch this show?
No. But you can join FREE for a month!
I never heard of it until today on here
Exactly. It just became available today.
What sort of things were you able to do on this new show that weren't possible on MythBusters? And/Or, how will White Rabbit Project be different from MythBusters?
We are able to delve deeper into our stories. Also, we get to be "inside" of the re-creations. For example, I walk through a prison and ride in a helicopter as I talk about Pascal Payet, the guy who broke out of prison with a helicopter.
DragonCon again next year?
Possible! Unless I go back to Burning Man.
Yep, that's me working on a hangar bay. It was an awesome time in my life. Just wrote a post about it on the MythBusters Facebook page.
I remember being in class that day. NMT, the college nearby is basically on the other side of a mountain from where the homemade diamond explosion was filmed.
I had become used to hearing explosions during the day there due to EMRTC, but this explosion was so big that the shock wave shook the building I was in and rattled the blinds in the windows. It was pretty crazy to experience.
Um, yeah. Sorry about that.
My question is, how often did things go wrong on Mythbusters? What was the biggest build failure and how was it fixed?
With MythBusters, we tried to fail often and early. Everything starts with a mockup or a small scale experiment. In ten years, we had very few mishaps happen, which is a very good ratio indeed.
Congrats on your engagement! You seem to have a brilliant electrical and mechanical mind but something we do not see much of is your programming mind. Do you enjoy programming and if so which languages?
Thanks! I usually leave programming to the end, since I find it pretty straightforward. I like it because it's pretty clean and easy to modify. Moving a hole on a piece of aluminum or re-soldering a circuit board is an extra level of pain in the ass. I can program most variations of BASIC in my sleep, and I'm reasonably good with C but I need to get better.
Hey Grant! If season 1 of White Rabbit project does well, can we expect to see a white rabbit project season 2?
We can only hope! This sort of thing needs to gain momentum to signal to Netflix that people want to see more. So tell your friends!
i'm always amazed by your builds in mythbusters simple or complex. i always enjoy your work. so my question is at what age did you start building robots? what inspired you to build one? are you still creating battle bots?
Started building when I was very young. LEGO is a tremendous tool. As I got older and more experienced, my access to tools got better, and the robots became more complex. Retired from BattleBots. Currently.
Is there a subreddit for hobby electronics other than /r/electronics? I'm wondering if there is somewhere that has a list of cool finished products along with their components so you can try to replicate them?
I would try the forums at SparkFun and Adafruit. Lots of cool project blogs there along with parts.
Hi Grant, what is your favorite science fiction movie? Alternatively, do you have a favorite star trek episode? Can't wait to see you on White Rabbit!
Hard to say. My top three are: Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, Empire Strikes Back, and The Matrix. Fave Star Trek episode: Inner Light (TNG) with a close second Darmok.
Probably a bit of a personal question, but how did you and your wife-to-be meet?
At San Diego Comic-Con in 2011. We were at the Discovery Channel party late at night.
Hi Grant, what was the worst injury you ever had on Mythbusters?
Thankfully nothing super bad. Which is pretty good considering we routinely worked with all sorts of explosive, large machinery, prototype robots, firearms, and flames. I think I sprained my ankle dropping down through a roof in my underwear on the safety mat that was supposed to protect me. (The underwear was because of trying to fool a thermal security sensor.)
Hi grant, me being a firearms guy, I was curious if you own any firearms or have a favorite model?
Although I don't own any, I was super impressed with 9mm Glocks. The SIG Sauer P228 and Beretta 92FS are my other faves (smaller grips).