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AZ Tech Beat | August 22, 2019

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Spare Parts hits theaters today – true tale of AZ teen robotics club beating MIT

Spare Parts hits theaters today – true tale of AZ teen robotics club beating MIT
Jesse A. Millard

The local tale of a few high school underdogs competing in an underwater robotics competition against MIT and winning has finally hit the big screens today.

“Spare Parts,” tells the story of how four Carl Hayden Community High School Students and their mentors used car parts, 800 dollars, innovation and quick thinking to build the best underwater robot for the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center’s Remotely Operated Vehicle Competition.

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The 2004 victory was originally chronicled in the WIRED article “La Vida Robot,” and the inspirational story was adapted to the big screen starring George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, Carlos PenaVega and Marisa Tomei.

Students and alumni from the competition built the 24 remotely operated vehicles used during the film. They were even on set at times operating the ROVs while the cameras rolled.

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During the staple year where the Carl Hayden students took home the victory they had guidance from FIRST’s senior mentor Faridodin Lajvardi and computer science teacher Allan Cameron.

FIRST is a non-profit organization founded by Dean Kamen to inspire the youth in studying science, technology, engineering and math.

George Lopez’s character combines both Lajvardi and Cameron. The team faces some tough trials through the course of the movie, but with perseverance they impress the judges to take home the victory against big college teams like MIT.

Head over to the local movie house, grab some popcorn and watch this flick that immortalizes a local triumph.

Read more about robotics programs happening in AZ.