Between 2002 and 2003, my creative collaborator and I designed and fabricated a unique pneumatic engine. Almost all pneumatic motors are turbine based, but ours is "piston" based. Rather than using compressed air to spin a turbine, our design used the compressed air to operate linear actuators and then convert that linear motion into rotary motion by way of a crank shaft. I presented this motor to SMC Pneumatics' U.S. R&D lab in early 2003. They were so impressed with the motor that SMC hired my collaborator and myself to work in their R&D facility to develop the next generation of linear actuators.
LEFT: a short video of the air engine in operation