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NEWS RELEASES - via EurekAlert!

From whales to silver foxes to refugees: EMILY robot is a lifesaver

( Office of Naval Research) She's tough -- capable of punching through 30-foot waves and riptides or smashing into rocks and reefs. But she's also tender, providing hope to those in peril.Meet EMILY the robotic lifeguard -- officially known as the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard -- a remote-controlled buoy that recently was used to rescue nearly 300 Syrian migrants from drowning in the waters off the Greek island of Lesbos.

MIT scientists compile list of potential gases to guide search for life on exoplanets

( Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News) A new approach intended to maximize the chances of identifying planets orbiting nearby stars that support life focuses on creating a comprehensive list of the molecules that might be present in the atmospheres of these exoplanets. Biosignature gases emitted by exoplanetary life forms could be detected remotely by space telescopes, but these gases might have quite different compositions from those in Earth's atmosphere, according to an article in Astrobiology.

Two NASA sounding-rocket missions to explore coronal nanoflares and escaping atoms

( NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Two new sounding-rocket missions funded by NASA's Heliophysics Technology and Instrument Development for Science, or H-TIDeS, program, scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, plan to learn more about two little-understood processes.

Progress and promise of gene transfer and gene editing to cure beta-thalassemias

( Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News) Promising results from the first clinical trials of globin gene transfer to treat beta-thalassemias-inherited forms of anemia have eliminated the need for blood transfusions in some individuals. Enhancing current gene therapy strategies and applying new gene editing tools to correct beta-globin deficiencies and to reactivate fetal hemoglobin production are among the exciting new advances being pursued in the search for a cure for severe globin disorders, as described in Human Gene Therapy.

Free-standing 2-legged robot conquers terrain

( University of Michigan) An unsupported bipedal robot at the University of Michigan can now walk down steep slopes, through a thin layer of snow, and over uneven and unstable ground.

Preliminary results comparing PD-L1 IHC diagnostic assays in lung cancer released

( International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer) A pre-competitive consortia of pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic companies, and academic associations, including the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), announced phase I results of the 'BLUEPRINT PD-L1 IHC ASSAY COMPARISON PROJECT' at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) on April 19. The study compared four PD-L1 IHC diagnostic assays developed in conjunction with four PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors, which are used in NSCLC clinical trials.

Speedy ion conduction in solid electrolytes clears road for advanced energy devices

( DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory) A team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory used state-of-the-art microscopy to identify a previously undetected feature, about 5 billionths of a meter (nanometers) wide, in a solid electrolyte. The work experimentally verifies the importance of that feature to fast ion transport, and corroborates the observations with theory. The new mechanism the researchers report in Advanced Energy Materials points out a new strategy for the design of highly conductive solid electrolytes.

Getting a better measure of spin with diamond

( DOE/Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility) Diamonds are one of the most coveted gemstones. But while some may want the perfect diamond for its sparkle, physicists covet the right diamonds to perfect their experiments. The gem is a key component in a novel system that enables precision measurements that could lead to the discovery of new physics in the sub-atomic realm -- the domain of the particles and forces that build the nucleus of the atom.

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite sees massive Alberta wildfire day and night

( NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA-NOAA's Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite (S-NPP) carries an instrument so sensitive to low light levels that it can detect wildfires in the middle of the night as well as during the daytime.

SkinTrack technology turns arm into smartwatch touchpad

( Carnegie Mellon University) Ever since the advent of smartwatches, technologists have been looking to expand interactions beyond the confines of the small watch face. A new wearable technology developed at Carnegie Mellon University suggests turning the entire lower arm into a touchpad. Called SkinTrack and developed by the Human-Computer Interaction Institute's Future Interfaces Group, the new system allows for continuous touch tracking on the hands and arms.


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