Why Machines That Bend Are Better

  • Published on Mar 12, 2019
  • Compliant mechanisms have lots of advantages over traditional devices. SimpliSafe is awesome security. It's really effective, easy to use, and the price is great. Check out SimpliSafe here: simplisafe.com/veritasium
    I visited the Compliant Mechanisms Research group at Brigham Young University and spoke to Professor Larry Howell:
    At the above link, you can download 3D-print files to make some of the objects in the video, plus learn more about compliant mechanisms.
    What I learned about compliant mechanisms I summarize in the 8 P's of compliant mechanisms:
    1. Part count (reduced by having flexible parts instead of springs, hinges)
    2. Productions processes (many, new, different enabled by compliant designs)
    3. Price (reduced by fewer parts and different production processes)
    4. Precise Motion (no backlash, less wear, friction)
    5. Performance (no outgassing, doesn't require lubricant)
    6. Proportions (reduced through different production processes)
    7. Portability (lightweight due to simpler, reduced part count designs)
    8. Predictability (devices are reliable over a long period of time)
    Special thanks to Patreon supporters:
    Donal Botkin, James M Nicholson, Michael Krugman, Nathan Hansen, Ron Neal, Stan Presolski, Terrance Shepherd
    Animation by Alan Chamberlain

Comments • 3 908

  • F00LSG0LD215
    F00LSG0LD215 Day ago

    1:36 "WHOOPS my bad"

  • Alex Vitkov
    Alex Vitkov Day ago

    This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen.

  • A
    A Day ago

    Sounds like another solution for no problem that gets turned into toys.

  • Prod. SlapHappy
    Prod. SlapHappy Day ago +1

    FINE! I clicked on it, are you happy now youtube??

  • andrewroxs
    andrewroxs Day ago

    This guy should team up with the origami technology scientist

  • andrewroxs
    andrewroxs Day ago

    Mind blown

  • CriticalMass 21
    CriticalMass 21 Day ago

    can you make a bike with compliant mechanisms?

  • Mustakrakish
    Mustakrakish Day ago

    My g- I mean friend, physics girl.

  • JohannesMP
    JohannesMP Day ago

    I’m curious: What type of plastic did they use for their various light gray plastic models?

  • ItsCloutGod
    ItsCloutGod Day ago +1

    Smart af

  • Dxpress
    Dxpress Day ago

    Are there any downsides on using these compared to traditional machinery?
    Because if not, then we might as well make these standard.

  • John Gore
    John Gore Day ago

    That 'pay-the-algorithm' money is doing work considering this has been in my recommended for 2 weeks and played in the autoplay.

  • barfyman362
    barfyman362 Day ago

    But will it blend?

  • MatsueMusic
    MatsueMusic Day ago +1

    That expression @10:02 is exactly what happened to me repeatedly throughout this video. This was one of your best episodes, second to Learned Helplessness in my opinion. But wow, how do more people not know about this innovation.

  • Valchar77
    Valchar77 Day ago


  • lankylives
    lankylives Day ago

    wow you lookin' thicc here Veritasium!!!

  • Stefanie Daniella

    won't the points of bending wear out from simple stresses of bending anyway?
    (any material will degrade if bent enough times)

  • Richard Li
    Richard Li Day ago

    One of your most interesting video Derek! Love how you're developing your channel, keep it up!

  • heycharlie
    heycharlie Day ago

    Hm, i can think of one disadvantage, space saving. I don't imagine compliant mechanisms can easily be folded in a way that can be practical in modern homes

  • Kukkeli
    Kukkeli Day ago

    Okay now I wanna know how you can 3d print titanium.

  • Dan -Horsenwelles- Williams


  • Outinspace
    Outinspace Day ago

    "This episode was sponsored by Simply Safe. More about them at the end of the show". That right there is how you properly include a sponsor on an episode. Unlike most TheXvidrs who just put a 2 minute long advert at the beginning of their video.

  • N English
    N English Day ago

    This is the most interesting video I have yet to see on youtube. Actual innovation.

  • Watch Wilson
    Watch Wilson Day ago

    What about the longevity of these devices?

  • RiseAgainstDisciple

    6:50 specifically points out PLA for the 3D Printers out there xD

  • thsscapi
    thsscapi Day ago

    Dr. Howell is a Plastic-bender in disguise. Watch out for the Fire Nation!

  • ThatOneStuff
    ThatOneStuff Day ago

    We need bending vending machines.

  • Anthony Huhn
    Anthony Huhn Day ago

    This is my favorite episode ever!

  • Cube the Squid
    Cube the Squid Day ago

    Yo I"m gonna go to BYU and probably take classes from him!! That's so cool! #CougarPride

  • Kelly Mcgrath
    Kelly Mcgrath Day ago

    reminds me of proteins

  • Stitch I'Lalu
    Stitch I'Lalu Day ago

    Yessss. Thank you. I cant wait until these are produced widely

  • Scott Morgan
    Scott Morgan Day ago

    Does this mean the iPhone 6 is the best?

  • Mattack
    Mattack Day ago

    Am I the only one who thought the thumbnail was a speculum? lol

    WHYZMAN Day ago

    This type of design pleases me so much

  • PieNinjaProductions

    It looks like an Aphex Twin logo

    KRDJMTC Day ago

    I love this.

  • Zecheriah C
    Zecheriah C Day ago

    Very cool. These guys need to partner up with Polymagnet! Imagine the possibilities....

  • socksumi
    socksumi Day ago

    This kind of thing has been around for centuries. Springs for example. Catapult anyone?

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Day ago

    Fuckin dude is dumb man. Jeez.

  • Apple User
    Apple User Day ago

    That is why the iPad Pro is a great device

  • maxbored
    maxbored Day ago

    Are you banging the Physics girl? Asking for a friend.

  • Holyspecter
    Holyspecter Day ago +1

    Now if Professor Harry could unlock the secrets on making my wife more compliant. I'd say give him the Nobel Price.

  • TechnoCube
    TechnoCube Day ago

    LEGO briefcases real OG compliant mechanism

  • H A R
    H A R Day ago

    yeh, but bending things makes their joints weaker and weaker quickly til the break.

    • Kyle Warren
      Kyle Warren Day ago

      They accounted for that. "It withstood up to a million cycles on our fatigue machine."

  • Fuck Censorship
    Fuck Censorship Day ago

    You need to talk less when interviewing experts.

  • Fishy boi slippin in yo hoof

    That man looks like my therapist

  • Federico Spadone

    This doesn't impress me
    2:54 Hinges and bearings and separate springs last much longer than flexible junk.
    3:41 Looks like something that would withstand a very small number of operating cycles, compared to a traditional cheap circuit breaker with a tiny metal leaf spring.
    5:58 "And that is why..." you put rubber bushings in if you want to avoid that issue. You don't make the whole piece rubbery!
    7:32 That's true
    9:22 Aw, look, a centrifugal clutch. Something equivalent, but made with a drum, shoes and two springs, can be found in most mopeds with a CVT or a single gear pulley. It's basically a centrifugal drum brake. Common on chainsaws and lawnmowers. The advantage of having it made of multiple parts is that they don't wear off at the same rate. The springs are almost ethernal, while the padding and the inside of the drum are not. And you only have to change the parts that you need instead of the whole assembly.
    Nice food for thought anyway (=

  • Mike Roberti
    Mike Roberti Day ago

    Wasn’t Professor Howell the “Gilliam’s Island” guy?

  • mulchypotatoes
    mulchypotatoes Day ago

    should've just let the professor speak he's more interesting than you

  • bob cork
    bob cork Day ago

    So are springs now considered Compliant Machines.

  • Tech Witch
    Tech Witch Day ago

    I wonder how you can achieve longevity in such a part. As far as I know, you can break a piece of metal by bending it back and forth repeatedly.

  • Blan Morrison
    Blan Morrison Day ago

    "What if you put your finger in there and squeezed it?"
    "You would scream in pain. Would you like to try?"
    *"I would."*

  • Holo
    Holo Day ago +1

    Wierd flex but ok

  • Cloxygen
    Cloxygen Day ago

    the thing in the thumbnail looks like people smashing

  • Henrique Aroeira

    I'm a microelectronics engineer that (as of last week, in fact ) begun working with MEMs (Micro Electro Mechanics) and this is seriously cool!

  • Nathan Masters
    Nathan Masters Day ago

    Larry was my Masters Thesis advisor--he is one of the great people I have known in my life. Compliant mechanisms are very cool. Thank you for posting this video-love your channel. For any who have not seen it, you should check out the Nova episode "The Origami Revolution"--which covers more BYU Compliant Mechanisms research--with origami.

  • Volker H
    Volker H Day ago

    nice suit dude

  • Ricardo Sanchez
    Ricardo Sanchez Day ago

    This video turned me on...

  • にゃあエイリアンMeowAlien

    Why do I have a feeling that this Larry guy will change the world?

  • Someone
    Someone Day ago

    2030 a phone made from plastic

  • bluzshadez
    bluzshadez Day ago

    That GRIPPER Compliant Mechanism was on the thumbnail of this video. I was intrigued. I clicked on because that vise grip looking thing somehow looks like a Dude on top of a girl, "doing" her! For some reason, it looked like the Dude on top has a diagonal "family jewels." Some of those looked like WHIRLIGIGS without the spinning fan. Wow! the most impressive part is that all of those shown are OPEN SOURCE. I was just kidding with my aforementioned comments. I love this channel. Very informative!

  • kud
    kud Day ago

    Is he Scott Adams’ brother?

  • Andrew Rawlins
    Andrew Rawlins Day ago

    The applications possible with these innovations... so transformative. Cheap, reliant, and available to everybody. NASA should be using compliant mechanisms with their Moon Gate project.

  • Alexandre Ganhito


  • Travis Hunt YouTube PhD

    Your "friend" haha they would make smart babies

  • Johnny Luken
    Johnny Luken Day ago

    Notice how machines are slowly becoming more organic. We're witnessing the cells of a future lifeform starting to assemble.

  • Benjamin Esposti

    That's misleading. There are no pinch points, but the edges of the metal have to rounded enough, otherwise the sharp edges can and will cut through the insulation over time.

  • Spartacusse
    Spartacusse Day ago

    Simplisafe = Apple-ly looking expensive security system for spoiled first worlders.
    Rest of the world = Buy stuff off of Aliexpress and wire it all up ourselves.

  • KuKajin
    KuKajin Day ago

    very cool video and the ideas here are certainly going to change our future but the nasa rocket one just seemed like an overcomplicated solution

  • Wild Bill
    Wild Bill Day ago

    As smart as this guy seems he says NUCULAR?

  • Kaden Burgart
    Kaden Burgart Day ago

    I avoided this video for like a week before autoplay forced my to watch it. Not even 2 minutes in and I already got inspiration for a mechanical design problem I've been trying to solve.

  • A n g e l o
    A n g e l o Day ago +1

    This video makes me miss the 1950s explanation videos on how things work. No humor, no fluff, just clear explanations.
    This video is more for children.

    • Kyle Warren
      Kyle Warren Day ago


    • A n g e l o
      A n g e l o Day ago

      Kyle Warren -- if you want entertainment, just watch some cat videos, man. No need for him to act like a someone you’d see on TheXvids trending page.
      Again, even the engineer was annoyed with his nonsense, and the guy kept going on. Hell, at one point I could no longer tell who was the women when he stood next to his wife. That’s how chaotic, childish, and effeminate he was acting. Yea that’s right, women are childish is exactly what I’m saying.
      What I said isn’t anecdotal, it’s logical. The fact you disagree because you enjoyed the video is what’s anecdotal.
      Now excuse me I’m off to chat about geometry in the comment section of some funny cat videos. People will love it. 😂

    • Kyle Warren
      Kyle Warren Day ago

      Dude...I'm an engineering student. Sophomore year, going through Dynamics, Mechanics of Materials, Materials and Processes in Manufacturing, and Circuits.
      My Mats and Processes *professor* showed us a clip of this video to demonstrate the power of using bending in design as opposed to mechanical solutions.
      You are correct: this is not an entertaining field. And my professor didn't show us the whole video because of all the fluff going on in it. And I'm probably never coming back to this video for any kind of reference.
      However, this video did get me thinking about interesting design angles. Methodologies of part minimization is an aspect that I definitely am going to be thinking about going forward.
      But if this were a boring, "Here's an info dump" video, I would have clicked off in 2 minutes, because I'm watching this during my free time while I'm chilling with a cup of coffee. I don't need to know the math or the design specifics to get my brain stimulated with my own, enjoyable line of thought. I just want to have a short, fun time between my monolithic homework assignments.
      There's a place and a purpose to everything. Those 50s videos got me on my feet and running when it came to soldering really quickly. Videos on youtube in the same vein have helped me understand my Statics, Physics, Differential Equations, Circuits, Materials and Processes in Manufacturing, and Mechanics of Materials classes far better than I could have otherwise. These more entertaining videos have gotten me to understand stuff like concrete, laminar flow, how the change to the SI system works, problems with time zones in code, usage of slanted pieces of metal and reflection to create directional signs, basics of neural networks, and other curiosities that I wouldn't necessarily be exposed to otherwise.
      There is literally nothing wrong with these videos. The information dump videos are still out there if you want to find them. Lots of lectures are hanging out on youtube and if you want some particularly dense information then getting a hold of scholarly articles and books is easier than ever. These more entertaining videos are just more popular because you don't *need* to be an engineer to enjoy them. They're presented at a level that anyone can understand and see the value of the concept presented. That's really not a bad thing at all.
      So, you really are in the wrong place, and I argue that the host is in exactly the right place. He's making money, clearly doing something he likes, has achieved a level of popularity, and is inspiring both the uneducated and those who are being educated. As for the professor, yes he seemed mildly annoyed, but he also made a bendy elephant to demonstrate a point, so he's probably ok with a bit of messing around too.

      Look...if you're going to focus on pure information efficiency, that's fine. There are channels out there for you. You might need to do some more digging to find them, because they don't appeal to TheXvid's algorithm, but they're out there. However, there's no need to rain on everyone else's parade. Not everyone is an engineer trying to learn exactly how "compliant mechanisms" work on a material and mathematical level.
      Also, "Engineers don’t care about entertainment because entertainment doesn’t belong in this field." A: I'm gonna need a source on that besides your anicodotal experience, and B: that's a *super* unhealthy way to think.

    • A n g e l o
      A n g e l o Day ago

      Kyle Warren -- Are you good at ready body language? Take a look at body language of the engineer in this video. He was highly annoyed by the hosts behavior over and over again - as was I.
      Engineers don’t care about entertainment because entertainment doesn’t belong in this field. So no, I’m not at the wrong channel, this host is.
      Engineering is exciting as it is for people who like it. Sugarcoating an interesting subject isn’t entertaining, it’s an obstruction.

    • Kyle Warren
      Kyle Warren Day ago

      A n g e l o this is an entertainment channel that also teaches. PBS space time is more along the lines you’re thinking.
      Also practical engineering is another channel that’s quite good for this.
      You’re looking in the wrong places man.

  • josif yesyes
    josif yesyes Day ago

    the most unpredictable video I ever seen ,this will open a multi dimensional thoughts in mechanical engineering

  • Attila Ujvari
    Attila Ujvari Day ago

    Next level :o

  • Acer Kronos
    Acer Kronos Day ago

    WOW !

  • Andrew Helberg
    Andrew Helberg Day ago

    Thanks elon, very cool

  • Ryknfjor
    Ryknfjor Day ago

    This is not absolute, however. For machining applications, machine tools that flex and bend can't do their job properly. But for sportbikes for instance it's a different application, and works much better when it flexes especially under extreme acceleration and cornering.

  • Eddy A.
    Eddy A. Day ago

    cool episode. But BYU is.... ugh I'd never want to go there, as if I'd get accepted anyway.

  • Derrick McAdoo
    Derrick McAdoo Day ago

    This is retarded beyond words. He broke a piece of chalk (easy) using a goofy-looking scissor and calls it revolutionary. This is basic sh*t people.. (Btw, you can break a chalk stick in between a couple fingers on one hand. It's SUPER fragile, just like a crayon. LAME !

  • timorii
    timorii Day ago

    Nonlinear FEM.

  • TheMightyJ225
    TheMightyJ225 Day ago

    Prof. Larry is Elon Musk's less famous cousin

  • UniQuE TV
    UniQuE TV Day ago

    What I dont get this is, how can it bend over a million times without getting weaker? wtf

  • Awesome Bill
    Awesome Bill Day ago

    Aphex Twin gonna sue you for that thumbnail bruh

  • Cake Killer
    Cake Killer Day ago

    7:44 lenin head statue?

  • okstateben
    okstateben Day ago

    Excellent video. Loved it!!

  • Silvino Cardoso
    Silvino Cardoso Day ago

    Super interesting.

  • nobody important

    Can’t she change her channel name to physics vagina? It basically amounts to the same thing and she’ll get even more fanboi collaborations

  • luukfit
    luukfit Day ago

    Woman that bend are better

  • Sebastian Lund Nielsen

    This blew my mind!

  • Lucas Wendel
    Lucas Wendel Day ago

    Hey Veritasium. I loved this video, but think again about that security system. Wireless security systems are inherently flawed. (Think jamming, imsi catcher) And if that's not enough the fact that this system by design phones home would worry me. Yeah it might be nice that they validate alarms. But having a security system connected to the Internet is a bad Idea. And since it phones home you just centralized your security together with a couple hundred different people. A tasty target indeed.
    And please don't believe any provider that your data is save with them. Because _they_ take security seriously. Way bigger companys broke on that promise since 0day's are a thing.

  • dasco597
    dasco597 Day ago +1

    this is super interesting! it's going to be cool to watch the world adobt this design philosophy more

  • mon olog
    mon olog Day ago

    Actually clicked this because I thought it was Aphex Twin...

  • Chr0m3 A11y33
    Chr0m3 A11y33 Day ago

    Extrude it to be like 10 ft long and use it to pick up shipping containers or something lol

  • Ghost Erik
    Ghost Erik Day ago

    Made in china... All plastic... Worst nightmare

  • Radoslaw Bozek
    Radoslaw Bozek Day ago

    soo cool!

  • Andre Photo
    Andre Photo Day ago

    Glad my peers over at Brigham young university are making an impact!! Great video very informative:)

  • Mike Silhy
    Mike Silhy Day ago

    Amazing!!! Excellent video. Amazing the wide variety of applications of Compliant Machines.

  • 8b64z
    8b64z Day ago +1

    I've got a compliant mechanism in my pants, but no girl wants to play with it.

  • ifalcon
    ifalcon Day ago

    Ipad uses this

  • Mo Kiani
    Mo Kiani Day ago

    What's the catch?