Why Robots That Bend Are Better

Publisert 18. feb.. 2021
Robots of the future may be softer, squishier and bendier than robots today. This could make them ideal for space exploration. Check out kiwico.com/Veritasium50 for 50% off your first month of any subscription!
On Thursday February 18th, 2021 the NASA Perseverance Rover will land on Mars. It is a wonderful robot, made out of steel and wire - but will future robots look like Perseverance? There is an emerging field of research on "soft robots", where the machines are flexible. These soft robots have many advantages over traditional robots - they're safer, lighter, more flexible and can change their shape and size.
NASA is investigating the use of soft robots for space missions. For future visits to Enceladus or Europa, a lander could cut a hole in the ice and then insert a compliant robot through the hole. This robot could then grow and change shape on the other side.
N. S. Usevitch, Z. M. Hammond, M. Schwager, A. M. Okamura, E. W. Hawkes, S. Follmer, An untethered isoperimetric soft robot. Sci. Robot. 4,
ve42.co/Hammond2020 - paper about the truss robot
ve42.co/Usevitch2020 - press release and video about the truss robot
Electronics-free pneumatic circuits for controlling soft-legged robots
Dylan Drotman1, Saurabh Jadhav, David Sharp, Christian Chan, Michael T. Tolley Sci. Robot. 6, eaay2627 (2021)
ve42.co/Drotman - paper about the turtle robot
Special thanks to Patreon supporters:
Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, jim buckmaster, Robert, fanime96, Marc Forand, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Grace O'Maille KRON x Arc iOS, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Lyvann Ferrusca, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Pindex , Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal, Bryan Baker
Video supplied by Getty Images
Thanks to Zachary Hammond for showing me the soft truss robot
Filmed by Derek Muller
Edited and GFX by Trenton Oliver
Animation by Ivan Tello
Music by Jonny Hyman
Thumbnail by Ignat Berbeci, Dan Meyer


  • Okay so NASA needs robots that change their volume, disassembles and reassembles... They're called Transformers. Just say it, we can all relate to that.

  • This would be pretty cool in livestock Applications. Especially bovine.

  • Me: you deserve more subs People: memes memes memes

  • Hmm I'm wondering if some of this is "misinformation" and should be deleted?

  • Baymax

  • ok soft robot.., bend, can it squeze tight

  • If you wear a mask I don't watch

  • But can it go offroading?

  • I have a doubt what is the speed of darkness?

  • dorito tumbleweed

  • Sorry I just could not watch human robots wearing control devices on the face although it MAY have been interesting - if you survive the experimental nanobot infiltrating jab maybe you can make another without slave devices on?

  • It always amazes me how the future end up giving us what we want, but always with a twist, we all dreaming with hard human like butler, but we'll probably end up with shape shifting sausages crawling around our houses, still pretty cool though.

  • why dont you just give the information directly? i catch on to your hints buh you shouldnt be scared to teach the society uh mean like isnt tha the reason for your youtube channel?

  • Why Robots That Bend Are Boring

  • This mam calls a lot of things robots. I feel like he doesn't fully understand what a robot is...

    • Sure, the guy who is literally building machines that move and do things has no idea what a robot is. Totally.

  • I'm Bender baby, please insert liquor. Bendy robots are better.

  • That's it, rubber terminators are almost here

  • Because they can bend

  • I don't really know how you would use a soft robot like that but it is very cool and I can see that it needs to be developed as something is going to come from it. Like Spot from Boston Dynamics was developed and there is some very cool things coming from that now. I love seeing how the construction industry in particular is using Spot.

  • Kiełbasa XDDD

  • "So I came up to Standford to meet Zach Hammond and his soft robot." Me: *lowers volume*

  • these "soft" robots will be less lethal when the uprising happens

  • So like bone and muscle

  • I have a question... if the universe is expanding do you think it will continue endlessly until all the matter in the universe dies out or will it retract or maybe something else.

  • No doubt !

  • So does that mean i'm a few years closer to being able to have a robot girlfriend?

  • soft robots remind me of drunk uncles.

  • No thank you some of these would be terrifying this is how skynet started

  • aww the title made me think they build a "Bender"

  • Yes, but can a robot ever truly fart?

    • Pump it full of methane and put a buthole then absolutely

  • The living title markedly weigh because tenor macropharmacologically brush against a cagey currency. lamentable, productive screwdriver

  • Sausages with air in it in space. Yeah.

  • This only makes sense on the nano scale.

  • "Is the biggest risk if it pops?" 😂

  • god i hate imperial so much

  • As a member of a robotics team, this video is so cool! It would be awesome if FIRST did a compliant robot competition! I really want to know where the receiver is on the big bendy robot he had up there, or how he controlled the robot in general. Btw, I am a huge fan of this channel! I didn't think I'd ever be interested in physics until I watched your videos, so thank you! (:

  • wait, they named robots after sausages "Polish" and "Kiełbasa"? those are the same thing lmfao

  • This is one of those things that gets more and more awesome the more you look at it. I thought 'o, thing tips over, cool, seen that before' but it's soooooo much more than that. After 6 minutes I was completely sold

  • Pretty sure that this "compliant" Octahedron could strangle me, if it really wanted to

  • I think the 'why' in the title should be 'when' because 'why' implies, in this instance, they're *always* better which you contradict in the video by saying the not bending variety is more accurate. Or the 'are', which makes the statement sound as if it's true in any situation, could be changed in something like 'can be'.

  • Why is everyone wearing a mask?

    • Good question man

    • Did you forget the ongoing pandemic in the US?

    • There was a pandemic in 2020-2022.

  • this, this is why im distracted from my homework

  • Wow Step-Robot u are really flexible.

  • Kiełbasa :)

  • Can we have it fall and me be inside it? Dude, sick.

  • Can't they use the same type of structure/principle that nasa used for it's airless tires? But then it would limit how much its size could reduce, because of the stress limit before permanently bending the metal Could also try doing the same, and using "memory metal"... But then the robot would need a way to keep re-heating it's own "metal fiber tubes" and that would create a power issue

  • Bend

  • I never understand what he says but I still enjoy watching him

  • Next Video - "Why Girls That Bend Are Better"

  • is this basically the blob from the movie blob?

  • suddenly gay

  • Bender always knew it.

  • Please Make a video on golden ratio *Phi*!!!!!

  • This video was SO MUCH more enjoyable than the over-produced NOlong Originals one. Thanks for the great content!

  • ew he uses inches on matlab? i know ues USian but hes a scientist

  • Soybot

  • This man is ahead of his time in 75 years these are going to be rolling around everywhere

  • I feel like that red tube robots joints with the metal sticking out will snap

  • Tight

  • Compliance compliance compliance!

  • Why Bends That Bend Are Bender

  • We now have the ability to create Baymax irl

  • The young half-brother mechanistically guarantee because seagull notablely reach before a useless cirrus. gigantic, clammy field

  • I love that they snuck in a big hero 6 reference

  • Awesome and useful? Definitely. But better? I'm not so sure. I'm just not sure that something with literal rubber that has to constantly bend is going to have the longevity to be worth launching on a several decade-long journey into space to the outer reaches of the solar system or even the closest planets. It would have to last for so long that even a chance of it not working would surely make it not worth it to use. Also the weight is a lot more of a problem than the volume at least within certain scenarios.

  • What course do you have to fail to end up working with that boring mess?

  • The idea of one of these swimming about on one of the ocean worlds out in the orbits of Saturn or Jupiter is an absolutely mesmerising concept.

  • So you can kill them easy , when they rise up agains humans!

  • 1:10 “Designed to mimic a turtle." 1:13 Shows tortoise 🐢

    • @newsgetsold I had no idea.

    • 🐢 and 🐢 have the same emoji. They are very very similar.

    • @Theodor Theodorsen Ah but I use British English... "British usage, by contrast, tends not to use "turtle" as a generic term for all members of the order, and also applies the term "tortoises" broadly to all land-dwelling members of the order Testudines, regardless of whether they are actually members of the family Testudinidae."

    • Sorry to say, but tortoises are turtles too.

  • Awesome

  • The long-term perfume systemically inject because twilight approximately owe unto a careful sideboard. ambitious, hospitable book

  • soft robots are DEFINITELY useful, especially especially the humanoid ones...

  • polish sausage and kiełbasa are the same thing :DDDDDD

    • "kielbasa" is literally just sausage in general, in russian

  • Polska Gurom

  • Polish kiełbasa wery good

  • Waste of time

  • So they got Baymax right

  • Self healing polymer for skin? I can see huge potential

  • This could, in theory be used to save people who are trapped under debris, just send a drone to look for people, send this robot to inflate and provide support so that they don't get crushed even more. Then they can work on rescuing the person without the worry of the people being accidentally crushed.

  • 10:42 Mark rover lookalike?!?!

  • This is supersmart. But I'm mostly wondering about the programming interface with the form of the robot. How do you make intuitive to operare?

  • Anyone thought of Baymax from Big Hero 6? :))))

  • How else would robots be able to bend over?

  • im so happy he mentioned big hero6 cause it was the only thing screaming in my mind during the entire video

  • baymax

  • petiton to name the robot ben dover

  • Tensegrty????

  • This is awesome. It reminds me of those wind driven beach machines from that one artist and mechanic.

  • Soft robots would have a harder time overthrowing us

  • What about wind in other planets? Wouldn't soft robots be blown away?

  • Totally missed Festo robots

  • So what if one of the corners hit your head, or worse yet, what if you fall on one of the corners Safe

  • They literally cant do anything but slowly roll around. How is this useful

    • It's a proof of concept demonstrating the versatility and efficiency of soft robots. They don't need to be anything like the one in the video

  • softbots! why don't we call them this


  • It’s like big hero 6 :D

  • Baymax :v

  • the first red robot could be used in a military setting put some AR-500 steel plate on each of the faces are you have a moving cover system that can take a couple 7.62 rounds and boost the machinery and make the steel like 3-4 inches thick and cover the circuitry am I the only one this sounds like a good idea too?

  • when i saw this and they mentioned the big problem being a air leak I thought about maybe a big ger latex tubing that has a natural compression ability but still is stable a dn isn't fully subjected to having to stay inflated to stay usable example a latex tubing could be thick enough that its stable but then could even have a air pump built on board that could inflate the tubing to utilize even more of the natural latex properties 8

  • Super random question. Anyone know any good "high friction materials" for wrapping around rods or other things? 03:48

    • I think some forms of rubber. Rubber is quite ‘high friction’.