Spare Parts — The Real Story

Posted on January 15, 2015 at 8:00 am

Copyright 2004 Livia Corona/WIRED
Copyright 2004 Livia Corona/WIRED
If it did not actually happen, no one would believe it. Four undocumented high school students with no money entered an underwater robotics competition, decided to compete against the college teams instead of the other high schools, and won, triumphing over past winner MIT, which had not only some of the top engineering students in the world but a budget more than 20 times bigger.

Wired Magazine wrote the story in 2004. It is well worth a read — the real story is even more improbable and exciting than the film, which is fine, but which adds some unnecessary Hollywood sweeteners, combining the two teacher/sponsors into one character played by George Lopez and adding some superfluous backstory and romance for him. One unforgettable detail from real life becomes one of the movie’s high points. No spoilers here — I’ll just say that the kids had to act quickly to find something small and super-absorbent when their machine had a leak and they came up with an ingenious solution.

Wired also has updates on what the team members are doing now.

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