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RoboGames headed to battle with former MythBuster as host

Ex "Mythbusters" cast member Grant Imahara will host the "Olympics of Robots," to be held in early April in Northern California.

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Grant Imahara chats with builders at RoboGames in 2011. Bonnie Burton/CNET

Let the robot battles begin. RoboGames, which has pitted robots against robots in metal mayhem for over a decade, has a new host for 2015 -- former cast member Grant Imahara, who will also host a new Web-based video series about the "Olympics of Robots."

More than 30 countries have competed annually in the event in 54 different events such as kung-fu, stair climbing, basketball, bipedal soccer and combat. The games, scheduled this year for April 3-5 in San Mateo, Calif., "showcase all different aspects of robot competitions, from 220-pound combat robots fighting behind bulletproof glass to 25 gram sumo robots no bigger than a quarter," according to the website.

I know Imahara personally, so I'm fond of what he does, but I also can vouch for his ability to entertain the crowd. He's not only used to busting myths with science, he's an accomplished robot expert himself, as well as a previous robot competitor on the robot fighting TV show "BattleBots" with his robot Deadblow. Imahara is also the author of the book "Kickin' Bot: An Illustrated Guide to Building Combat Robots."

"There's nothing like experiencing the sights and sounds of a live robot combat event," Imahara said on RoboGames.net. "As a former competitor, robot combat is near and dear to my heart. I enjoy the mix of creativity and mayhem that are essential to this sport. Being able to share it with new audiences and future generations is a huge bonus."

In addition to the mayhem in the ring, RoboGames also supports STEM education with seven different robotic events for kids under 18.

"The general public perception is that fighting robots were popular, and then went away for a long time, but in reality, there have been live robot combat events happening continuously since 1994," Imahara said. "And all the while, the robots have been getting better and meaner and tougher."

The robot competition, which is run by the nonprofit group Robotics Society of America, successfully met its Kickstarter goal last fall to produce a Web-based video series about the competition. It has yet to be announced when that series will air.