Why Robots That Bend Are Better

Publicerades den 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


  • Hm... Rigid robot uses: Manufacturing, Building, warfare, secondary phases of colonization. Soft robot uses: Medicine, direct human contact usage, rescue, first phases of colonization.

  • Thought you meant bend like Bender Rodriguez

  • bender agrees

  • Aan deze militaire natte droom die volledig geheim en verboden ondezoek bevat ga je niet gelijk dood . Parkingson, Altzheimer, mad cow zijn door prion veroorzaakte ziektes die pas over 2 jaar zich breed gaan manifesteren. Nu snap je de Angst van overheden.

  • The envious riverbed admittedly punish because can sicily arrest into a victorious composition. fretful, ragged arch

  • Dit is er aan de hand. Sars-CoV-2 A Weaponized Prion Disorder Disquised as Respiratory Disease. Hier werken groot machten als China, Rusland en Amerika al jaren in het geheim aan en is helaas ontsnapt uit een biolab in Wohan.

  • This is awkward

  • Its like the strandbeests

  • there's no air in space

  • That compressed air robot looked like stop motion. But all it would take is one of those flimsy rods on that inflatable robots to snap and its useless.

  • "Why Rockets that Bend are Better"

  • These are nicer than humanoid, because a human like machine that can move, interact and talk is creepy

  • 8:46 Bay Max from Big-Hero 6 came to mind when he said that.

  • only thing i didnt like about this video is that your voice keeps changing sides


  • no comments or jokes about Futurama's Bender? im disappointed in y'all

  • >its soft, so its safe around humans ...

  • kielbasa :D

  • good video

  • Why I cant even see the sub button? Serious Question.

  • i preffer my robot stiff

  • We now have the ability to create Baymax irl

  • Baymax is my favorite soft robot

  • half of boston robot dynamic videos are cgi anyways lmfao!!

  • Michael Rosen called it, guys ***bendy bendy bendy! Bendyy bendyy***


    • we're one step closer to having a real life baymax

  • Interesting

  • TARS? is that you?

  • Oh dang! Kiełbasa right there!!!♥️

  • Every one the robots will take over the world..... the robots haha soft robots go bbbbrrrrr

  • The glamorous pollution commercially consist because opera randomly cause within a open july. crazy, rainy person

  • Hey Derek, I have a physics question for you, its kind of hard to explain while typing but it concerns controlling gravity. I think I have a 33% chance of this theory being correct, if you are interested I can give you my email later. Thanks, Josh.

    • Yea ikr it has to do with Einstein's theory of relativity and curved spacetime

    • lol what? hahahhaha

  • I love this video as a high schooler and a software lead and a captain of an FRC robotics team who loves and adored robots and robot making!

  • Kill JESUS with Cinnamon. For they have no breath and cannot speak and hear. Cyborgs

  • Who wants to bet which will come first Robot anime girls or colonization on mars

  • Cool, so instead of having your skull crushed by a terminator you get smothered by a sentient jumping castle.

  • It's just a hop, a skip, and a jump away from needing a leg up.

  • just put some stans tire sealant inside the bot in case it springs a leak it'll seal itself

  • the compressed air robot at 1:03 looks like a sea pig hehe

  • we're one step closer to having a real life baymax

  • nice stuff!

  • Bender: Shut up baby I know it!

  • looks pretty useless at that dev. level.

  • I see BIG HERO in the future

  • Soft robots yeah

  • Wasn't the T-1000 a soft robot? You know, when it wanted to be.

  • Will you still call a robot to something that doesn't integrate electronics?

  • Is there a video of that tour/visit to Kiwi Co? I'm fascinated by their work and would love to see more from that teaser.

  • F...ng masks on your faces...?!?!?!?!??! REALLY?!?!?!?!?!

  • problem is we cant make a soft robot that is actually strong. so why dont we just build normal machines, that dont crush people?

    • but it can pick up basketballs! How many basketballs are on mars though...

  • Hey Derek, how about the explanation of the " Center of the Universe " on Tulsa, Oklahoma ?? It's fascinatingly mysterious

  • kiełbasa ❤

  • Do they work at the bottom of the sea

  • Seems like they are pretty worthless because they have no inherent strength to complete tasks except perhaps to entertain children or to carry cameras on the meatal joints.

  • Hi, Derek. I want to watch your documentaries but don't know how to download them, can you help me?

  • Hey Derek, here's a video suggestion. How much does the 'Path of least resistance dictate your life?' Everything from putting a dirty plate into the sink less full to selecting the lane with the least amount of cars at a red light. Love the work you do! Thanks.

  • So what's its use, like under water is great but what will it do there?

  • dont waste your time making videos with masked people - they will be very ashamed once the depth of duping becomes obvious to all - thumbs down and unsub from me!

  • the future is bendy

  • Typical vacuum tire uses latex-based internal sealant to auto-seal leaks. Also, some vehicles use soft rubber to completely replace air inside tires. Silicone foam resin or something similar can be mixed when the robot deployed, and foam would expand to fill the tube structures. It will be far better than a mere backup pump.

    • concessions would have to be made in terms of robot maneuverabilty right? the foam is naturally more difficult to compress than air. i think it would be great as a back up system tho, if they could find a light yet strong and elastic enough foam for structural support in those emergency situations, without adding too much weight to the robot.

  • I used to get V and mark rober mixed up, seems silly now but to me they used to be the same guy 😂

  • Derek: How does this robot even work? Zack: COMPLIANCE Derek: And what do- Zack: C O M P L I A N C E

  • This has to be lamest robot I have seen in a long, long time...

  • imagine you in a dark alley with nobody else and then this robot goes after you

  • I think I had a stroke trying to read the title

  • The only thing that makes me sad is that my first language is not english and i cannot understand you in tough situations. Love your channel❤️❤️

    • "Tough Situations" Lmao 😆💀

    • @Lord Midmight yeah. i do so when its available 😊

    • Put the subtitles, is going to make it easier for you to understand

  • And how are they better...

  • *baymax intensefies*

    • Some people like me black. Some very light. Some people like me bitter, others sweet. Congratulations!!!!!!! You've won a cup of coffee.

  • its a sloth robot

  • Zack hammond looks like James from the odd1sout

  • Coz robots that bend, can be smashed 😛

  • Lol that ice will be a LITTLE BIT thicker :)

  • "Heavy, expensive, and can be dangerous if not used correctly." Is now my new favorite description of a car... I mean robot.

  • It's Baymax!

  • Do you guys have a toy versión of your soft robots?

  • Good

  • Just use a long pool noodle 🤠. No compressed air bs.

  • "I came up to Stanford to meet Zack Hammond and his soft robot." ... That's what she said

  • Would be useful.. if there was a use or something it makes better. That solution needs a problem.

  • Cool

  • The sex toys that are gonna come out of this technology...

  • I haven't heard the word "compliance" used so often in a video since I last watched Flight of the Navigator...

  • One thing came to mind... Baymax.

  • I'm very unimpressed. Other than a few space jobs, I can't see why he is so hyped about them. Rigid robots are the futur, they are not great right now, but once we manage to master their design, they will be much more useful. I'm thinking human shaped robots who can do basic chores which is already in good development, or androids that can do most jobs much further in the futur.

  • i saw a video where a guy tried to make a thrust vectoring gimble for an rc plane using compliant mechanics, and the problem he had was that the compliance necessary to make the mechanism work also made the mechanism entirely too flexible to handle the thrust it was supposed to be steering. you can say "oh these robots are better because they aren't strong enough to hurt you" but it's still pointless if it's also not strong enough to do anything useful

  • Kiełbasa is the best part of this robot ;D

  • "One of the things that i like to do is just to take the robot and beat it" YOU MONSTER

    • ""Robot""

  • alot of those toys kiwi co makes seem very familiar

  • The knowledgeable riverbed unpredictably fill because guide superficially tip after a plain cone. gabby, confused antarctica

  • This is def one of the weirdest things I've seen in awhile.

  • this is basically a giant robotic muscle

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

    • @Dodici my brain always goes straight to the Autobots when I think of Transformers, don't know why

    • @Wendell Bezerra True, if it were an Autobot. Decepticons are another story, but you can always crossbreed with Honda Fits the best subcompact car of 2021!

    • Still the least volume Transformers occupy is that of a car... unless you miniaturize them 🤔

  • 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?

    • @BigBossBilly just hypothetical regarding this one. I had a BIG problem with the Gates vid. Thank you for your question.

    • @Futterman Farms I still don't quite understand you. Do you actually have a problem with any particular content in this video, or are you making a hypothetical point against censorship?

    • @Ed Purcell I was referring to his last vid with Gates where he said he agreed with Gates that "misinformation" should be deleted and not allowed to be online. This from the guy who did a vid on how many research papers are wrong??? and who gets to decide what is not ok? We still have not seen a retraction or ever a comment to defend the position. So I was just asking, how about this vid. Should some of it not be allowed?

    • For example?

  • 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?