Why Robots That Bend Are Better

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


  • Dodici
    Dodici9 minutter siden

    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.

  • Justin Buser
    Justin Buser41 minutt siden

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

    MADHAV DADHICHI52 minutter siden

    Me: you deserve more subs People: memes memes memes

  • Futterman Farms
    Futterman FarmsTime siden

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

  • LightSource
    LightSourceTime siden


  • erwinsyah nova
    erwinsyah nova2 timer siden

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

  • the ugly truth
    the ugly truth2 timer siden

    If you wear a mask I don't watch

  • Swift King
    Swift King2 timer siden

    But can it go offroading?

  • Rishabh Gupta
    Rishabh Gupta2 timer siden

    I have a doubt what is the speed of darkness?

  • Carlos_A_M


    Time siden

    Same as light

  • MochaFur


    2 timer siden

    I dunno dark

  • chulofreaks
    chulofreaks3 timer siden

    dorito tumbleweed

  • Rispy


    22 minutter siden


  • Samuel Mon

    Samuel Mon

    Time siden


  • David Robertson
    David Robertson3 timer siden

    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?

  • Héctor Cossio
    Héctor Cossio3 timer siden

    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.

  • Cxshedoutk
    Cxshedoutk3 timer siden

    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?

  • andybaldman
    andybaldman3 timer siden

    Why Robots That Bend Are Boring

  • Drag0nEYE 1510
    Drag0nEYE 15104 timer siden

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

  • Luca Montani

    Luca Montani

    3 timer siden

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

  • nimay13
    nimay134 timer siden

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

  • NDK0
    NDK04 timer siden

    That's it, rubber terminators are almost here

  • Cenix
    Cenix4 timer siden

    Because they can bend

  • Michael Wylie
    Michael Wylie4 timer siden

    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.

  • Скуљски
    Скуљски5 timer siden

    Kiełbasa XDDD

  • Frank Einstein
    Frank Einstein5 timer siden

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

  • Frogboy
    Frogboy5 timer siden

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

  • J H
    J H5 timer siden

    So like bone and muscle

  • Danny Dunwell
    Danny Dunwell5 timer siden

    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.

  • turbo Flacko
    turbo Flacko5 timer siden

    No doubt !

  • ׁ
    ׁ5 timer siden

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

  • Spanky Harland
    Spanky Harland6 timer siden

    soft robots remind me of drunk uncles.

  • Big Phat Smoke
    Big Phat Smoke6 timer siden

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

  • Daphoes
    Daphoes6 timer siden

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

  • Maxx
    Maxx7 timer siden

    Yes, but can a robot ever truly fart?

  • Danny Dunwell

    Danny Dunwell

    5 timer siden

    Pump it full of methane and put a buthole then absolutely

  • Antonio Manaserian
    Antonio Manaserian7 timer siden

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

  • Business starten & online Geld verdienen!
    Business starten & online Geld verdienen!7 timer siden

    Sausages with air in it in space. Yeah.

  • russell
    russell7 timer siden

    This only makes sense on the nano scale.

  • Business starten & online Geld verdienen!

    Business starten & online Geld verdienen!

    7 timer siden

    my first thought...

  • russell
    russell7 timer siden

    "Is the biggest risk if it pops?" 😂

  • Pepbob
    Pepbob7 timer siden

    god i hate imperial so much

  • Madison O
    Madison O9 timer siden

    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! (:

  • Derek Schinke
    Derek Schinke9 timer siden

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

  • Deldarel
    Deldarel9 timer siden

    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

  • DM Blackgvard
    DM Blackgvard9 timer siden

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

  • veroaghe
    veroaghe9 timer siden

    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'.

  • Expedient Technology
    Expedient Technology10 timer siden

    Why is everyone wearing a mask?

  • The The

    The The

    10 timer siden

    Good question man

  • Tobi Jackson

    Tobi Jackson

    10 timer siden

    Did you forget the ongoing pandemic in the US?

  • Alpali


    10 timer siden

    There was a pandemic in 2020-2022.

  • ShatteredShadow
    ShatteredShadow10 timer siden

    this, this is why im distracted from my homework

  • Manpreet lakhanpal
    Manpreet lakhanpal10 timer siden

    Wow Step-Robot u are really flexible.

  • Tomasz Gasecki
    Tomasz Gasecki10 timer siden

    Kiełbasa :)

  • Christian Olsson
    Christian Olsson10 timer siden

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

  • Bones
    Bones11 timer siden

    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

  • Jacobskefoulington Gold
    Jacobskefoulington Gold11 timer siden


  • Sunkenpine
    Sunkenpine11 timer siden

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

  • Anantim Patil
    Anantim Patil11 timer siden

    Next Video - "Why Girls That Bend Are Better"

  • Ed L.
    Ed L.12 timer siden

    is this basically the blob from the movie blob?

  • Nico RO
    Nico RO12 timer siden

    suddenly gay

  • radastir
    radastir13 timer siden

    Bender always knew it.

  • unknown player
    unknown player13 timer siden

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

  • notn0t
    notn0t13 timer siden

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

  • William Pereira Gomes
    William Pereira Gomes13 timer siden

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

  • wilkdc
    wilkdc13 timer siden


  • AJ Arriaga
    AJ Arriaga13 timer siden

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

  • ATmel91
    ATmel9114 timer siden

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

  • Adam Hooker
    Adam Hooker14 timer siden


  • Drew Boyd
    Drew Boyd14 timer siden

    Compliance compliance compliance!

  • YankaRonin
    YankaRonin14 timer siden

    Why Bends That Bend Are Bender

  • AidanTheTurtle
    AidanTheTurtle14 timer siden

    We now have the ability to create Baymax irl

  • Quinton Dekock
    Quinton Dekock15 timer siden

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

  • Anders Henriksen
    Anders Henriksen15 timer siden

    I love that they snuck in a big hero 6 reference

  • Melody
    Melody15 timer siden

    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.

  • Legion
    Legion16 timer siden

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

  • Andromeda
    Andromeda16 timer siden

    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.

  • Gizmo
    Gizmo16 timer siden

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

  • newsgetsold
    newsgetsold17 timer siden

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

  • Theodor Theodorsen

    Theodor Theodorsen

    13 timer siden

    @newsgetsold I had no idea.

  • BrandonJustPlays Δ

    BrandonJustPlays Δ

    15 timer siden

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

  • newsgetsold


    15 timer siden

    @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."

  • Theodor Theodorsen

    Theodor Theodorsen

    16 timer siden

    Sorry to say, but tortoises are turtles too.

  • SnoreFree App - Guided Snoring Workouts
    SnoreFree App - Guided Snoring Workouts17 timer siden


  • Joanna Watters
    Joanna Watters17 timer siden

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

  • Wildfire悪魔
    Wildfire悪魔17 timer siden

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

  • chmura now
    chmura now17 timer siden

    polish sausage and kiełbasa are the same thing :DDDDDD

  • Wildfire悪魔


    17 timer siden

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

  • ChefBoyArty
    ChefBoyArty17 timer siden

    Polska Gurom

  • Herbert
    Herbert18 timer siden

    Polish kiełbasa wery good

  • yutuniopati
    yutuniopati18 timer siden

    Waste of time

  • toobin8r
    toobin8r18 timer siden

    So they got Baymax right

  • MasterMAT
    MasterMAT19 timer siden

    Self healing polymer for skin? I can see huge potential

  • Francois Justyne Abhram Dinauto
    Francois Justyne Abhram Dinauto19 timer siden

    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.

  • Sabitha Safar
    Sabitha Safar20 timer siden

    10:42 Mark rover lookalike?!?!

  • Albert Åkesson
    Albert Åkesson20 timer siden

    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?

  • TomNG
    TomNG20 timer siden

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

  • Nyarlathotep
    Nyarlathotep20 timer siden

    How else would robots be able to bend over?

  • Raul Lara
    Raul Lara21 time siden

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

  • Hafiz Hamzah
    Hafiz Hamzah21 time siden


  • Probably A European
    Probably A European21 time siden

    petiton to name the robot ben dover

  • jorsanflo
    jorsanflo22 timer siden


  • [ S o l i t a ]
    [ S o l i t a ]22 timer siden

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

  • Joshua Rowley
    Joshua Rowley23 timer siden

    Soft robots would have a harder time overthrowing us

  • Enigma OFFC
    Enigma OFFC23 timer siden

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

  • Br LL
    Br LL23 timer siden

    Totally missed Festo robots

  • flat_foot
    flat_foot23 timer siden

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

  • KBS -117
    KBS -11723 timer siden

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

  • Dauntless


    22 timer siden

    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

  • RFW
    RFWDag siden

    softbots! why don't we call them this

  • cruisinwithkenny BERNARDI
    cruisinwithkenny BERNARDIDag siden


  • Riley Russell
    Riley RussellDag siden

    It’s like big hero 6 :D

  • Antonio CN
    Antonio CNDag siden

    Baymax :v

  • Kaleb Ouimet
    Kaleb OuimetDag siden

    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?

  • Gkid50 - Gaming & Tech Reviews
    Gkid50 - Gaming & Tech ReviewsDag siden

    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

  • Chase Roberts
    Chase RobertsDag siden

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

  • monke


    20 timer siden

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