We're not likely to see steam-powered iPod generators on the market any time soon, but this is still a neat project. A steampunk fan named Thomas matched a Lego Technic Motor to a Jensen #75 steam engine and soldered in a USB connection. He then attached a diode and .5 amp fuse for circuit protection. Voila, instant off-the-grid iPod power! Jensen steam engines are powered by dry fuel tablets, though, so the actual energy savings of the hack are debatable. Whatever the case, Thomas' hack reminds us that alternative energy doesn't always have to mean solar or wind power--even though it might be easier to buy a solar-powered iPod charger than to build a steam engine.
[Via Boing Boing, where steam punk lives on]