Joanna Kakissis

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On a cold, rainy morning a few weeks ago, eight black inflatable rafts, loaded with migrants, bob in the waters off the northern shore of the Greek island of Lesbos.

One of them isn't moving.

Vassilis Hantzopoulos of the Hellenic Red Cross points to the horizon.

"This boat up there?" he says. "No engine. Failure of the engine. That's it. So they ask for help from the coast guard."

A Norwegian rescue boat with the European Union's border agency, Frontex, heads toward the distressed raft.

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It's Monday, time for All Tech Considered. And today, robots to the rescue.

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CORNISH: Imagine a cockroach-sized robot, for instance, finding people trapped in a collapsed building, or a walking humanoid robot fighting fires aboard Navy ships. Researchers are working on both of those things.

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It's just before midnight on a February night when the crew of the Responder gets word from the Greek coast guard that a boat with migrants aboard is nearby. It's in trouble somewhere in Greek territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.

"There's a light, a flash," says Eugenio Miuccio, a 38-year-old Italian doctor, pointing to a flicker in the pitch-black sea. He and an Italian nurse, 27-year-old Roberto Pantaleo, pull on red life jackets as the ship heads toward the light.

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So NATO's involvement is supposed to help Greece deal with this crisis. Reporter Joanna Kakissis is in Athens, and I asked her whether Greek people see this as any sort of a solution.

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Three teenage boys are lugging boxes of donated shoes into a stately neoclassical home in Mytilini, the capital of the Greek island of Lesbos.

Two of the boys are Syrian, and the other is Algerian. For the moment, they live in this house, a shelter for underage asylum-seekers traveling alone.

Inside, Christina Dimakou, a high-energy young lawyer, greets them. "Kalimera!" she says, Greek for "good day" and flashes a smile. The boys repeat the word, giggling.

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