Release date:July 11, 2014
"Underwater Dreams" chronicles the epic story of four teenage boys from the desert who built an underwater robot from Home Depot parts and went up against engineering powerhouse MIT in a NASA contest,… and won. This is how it transpired. Two energetic high school science teachers, on a whim, entered their high school, a Title I school where most of the students live in poverty, into a sophisticated underwater robotics competition sponsored by NASA and the Office of Naval Research, among others. Only four boys signed up for the competition, but once assembled, with enthusiasm and verve, they started calling oceanic engineers for design help. They were advised that their underwater robot would require glass syntactic flotation foam. Short on money, all they could afford was PVC pipe from Home Depot. And some duct tape. After a few test runs of their robot (aptly named Stinky), the team was confident that they would not come in last at the event, so they all piled into a beat up van to head to the competition. The boys entered the main pool area, seeing college teams in matching gear, with robots sponsored by the likes of Exxon Mobil. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, the boys put Stinky in the water for a test run. Only the PVC did not hold up. The robot leaked. And sunk. The boys put their heads together and hilariously came up with a brilliant solution. Twelve hours later, armed with 8 super-plus tampons to plug the leak in Stinky’s mechanical housing, the robot was lowered into the pool again. Only this time, Stinky performed admirably. Fast forward to a shocking result. This rag-tag high school team of undocumented Mexican boys did what no one thought possible – they won!. The competition, however, was only the beginning. These boys forged a legacy that could not have been imagined. A legacy of aspiration. Of activism. Of dreamers.