If you have never come across a Stirling engine these fantastic pieces of engineering were first built in the early 19th century. The Stirling engine is a operated by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gas and can run on the heat from your hand or the steam from your coffee, as pictured below.
As long as there is a slight difference in temperature between the lower and upper plates the engine with start to run.
If you fancy building your very own industrial gadget the kits come in a number of different varieties and there is even a solar powered one available. The Stirling Engine Kits start from around $100 and come with accessories such as glas domes all available from Kontax
Via Boing Boing
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