Winter temperatures in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan, are extremely frigid, averaging around negative 31 degrees Fahrenheit. But in summer, the mercury regularly soars to a sizzling 95 degrees.

So when top British architect Norman Foster designed Astana's newly-opened Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, he opted for a unique energy-efficient material that would accommodate both seasonal extremes.

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Human skin is extraordinarily sensitive - our fingertips can perceive extremely small differences in pressure, texture, and temperature. Mimicking this ability artificially is a real technological challenge, but fortunately electrical engineers at Stanford and UC Berkeley seem to be up to the task.

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2010 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

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