The Stirling engine, invented in the 19th century as an alternative to the steam engine, is powered by the expansion and contraction of a gas as it is alternately heated and cooled. In a conventional Stirling engine, the heating and cooling is achieved by moving the gas between a hot chamber and a cold chamber. The result is an extremely efficient mechanism that can operate on very small temperature differentials (i.e. body heat vs. environment).
The lamina flow engine is a Stirling engine with a single chamber with a hot end and a cold end, insulated by a restriction in chamber diameter. Not only does it have a much simpler design, but it is also somewhat more efficient: the only moving part is the piston.
It would be interesting if lamina flow engines can be used to harness solar energy the same way these guys are doing in L.A. with traditional Stirling engines.
I will be constructing a simple model using a test tube and a glass syringe. Details will follow as they become available.