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Grant Imahara's Iron Man project you never heard about

With the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Iron Man suit has undoubtedly become as iconic as Superman's "S" insignia or Spider-Man's spider symbol, regardless of how many times the armor has been upgraded to fit Tony Stark's needs. Anyone who's been to a comic book convention has surely seen some impressive Iron Man cosplay: fully-replicated armor, lit-up repulsors, arc reactor — the whole Stark Industries package. Choosing to simply wear an Iron Man t-shirt at such conventions instead is fine too (and makes it easier to use the bathroom), but credit should be given where it's due.

If anyone really deserves credit for bringing Tony Stark's legacy to life, though, it's Grant Imahara, most famous for hosting the ever-popular Mythbusters as well as starring in White Rabbit Project. Right up to his untimely death in July 2020, Imahara was a man of many talents: television host, roboticist, electrical engineer. His passion was evident in everything he did, and it was the reason he was approached with the task of recreating Iron Man's gauntlet.

A project Tony Stark would have funded himself

Back when the studio was preparing to release Captain America: Civil War in 2016, Marvel wanted to do something a little extra to help promote the film. As the title implies, infighting among our beloved heroes is at an all-time high, resulting in a conflict of flying fists and clashing ideals that alters relationships and sets the course for things yet to come. At the core of this conflict: Captain America, who believes the world would be endangered by government oversight of superheroes, and Iron Man, holding fast to the idea that heroes bring danger with them wherever they go and therefore need to be monitored.

It's a heavy film, which is why Marvel teaming up with Mouser Electronics for a fun project was a breath of fresh air. As part of Mouser's Empowering Innovation Together program, Marvel began the Project Heroes series, featuring Imahara and tech YouTuber Allen Pan. Imahara's job was to make a real-life version of Iron Man's gauntlet, while Pan was tasked with creating a model of Cap's shield that could boomerang back on command. With their respective technical backgrounds and wealth of experience presenting complex engineering projects to wide audiences, there were no better candidates for this educational and fun endeavor.

Did Imahara's gauntlet do Iron Man proud?

The initial portion of Project Heroes was dedicated to the building process, seeing the gauntlet and the shield come together piece by piece. The wearable gauntlet itself was 3D printed, and it alone would make any cosplayer gush. But Imahara was an engineer first and foremost, so he of course did more than just create a fancy-looking glove. Like Iron Man himself, Imahara installed a pop-up laser which — though certainly not as powerful as Stark's — was more than capable of doing some damage. The same could be said of Pan's Captain America shield, connected to an arm-mounted drone controller, the drone itself cleverly hidden under the shield to make it seem like it zipped through the air of its own accord after being "thrown."

Rather than duke it out as Iron Man and Captain America themselves did, Imahara and Pan engaged in a friendly battle of engineers. The targets: party balloons. The goal: see who could pop the balloons most efficiently. The results: resounding success.

Though the competition ended in a tie, the best part was seeing the legendary gauntlet and shield in action. Imahara's laser heated up the balloons until they popped, and after altering the heat settings using a device on his back, the final balloon burst into flames as its hydrogen was set alight. Pan's shield was less flashy, but it worked just as well, charging into the balloons like an airborne battering ram. Honestly, it could've been a deleted scene.