Besides co-hosting Mythbusters, Grant Imahara was known for his engineer work, and during his days on ILM, he had worked on movies like Jurassic Park, Terminator, and of course, Star Wars. Though his ILM days may have been done, back in March, Imahara had released a video of him and a team collaborating to build an animatronic Baby Yoda.
Check it out:
Pleased to present my newest creation: a fully animatronic Baby Yoda. Special thx to @SaltiestHime for silicone skin/paint/hair, @thelindsayjane for the coat and Project 842 for the digital model. Touring children’s hospitals starting in April! #BabyYoda #TheMandalorian #Starwars pic.twitter.com/XsDqGtEHt6— Grant Imahara (@grantimahara) March 6, 2020
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Pleased to present my newest creation: a fully animatronic Baby Yoda. It’s been three months of hard work and countless revisions. He’s a personal project that I started in early December. I did all the mechanical design, programming, and 3D printed the molds. He’s currently running a continuous sequence, but soon I’ll be able to trigger specific moods and reactions, as well as incorporate sound. Special thanks to @saltiesthime for creating the silicone skin, painting and hand-punching the hair, @misslindsayxoxo for the coat and jumpsuit, and Project 842 for the incredible digital model. This is a not-for-profit project. We’ll be touring children’s hospitals and our first visit is scheduled for April!
While Hasbro is already selling their own consumer-friendly version of the Mandalorian favorite, Imahara’s version is way more complicated, being able to convey different moods and emotions. It was said that Imahara had planned to bring the animatronic to children’s hospitals where young kids could interact with it. He had said about the project, “Baby Yoda is universally cute, hands down. In the few public outings we’ve had, everyone melts. He’s a happiness maker. Everything about him is designed to trigger the human nurturing instincts.”
It truly is sad that Imahara would be gone so soon, and so suddenly. Besides building his Baby Yoda, he had worked on the Star Wars prequels and had helped build the scale models that were used for ships and buildings. He was also one of the technicians responsible for updating the R2-D2 robot.
Granted, Imahara may be gone too soon, but he has touched a lot of lives. Not only has he helped bring us universally loved movies, but he has also helped inspire many people in the pursuit of science and engineering. He’ll truly be missed.