Why Machines That Bend Are Better

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


  • Hayyan Media

    Hayyan Media

    Il y a 3 heures

    But do they biodegradable? Are making more items which will add to microplastics in the oceans?

  • trance dj

    trance dj

    Il y a 4 heures

    Prof Howell = Dentist from Hangover???

  • chris4072511


    Il y a 7 heures

    That gripper lacks the key features of vice grips: adjustable distance jaws and locking when closed.

  • Luke Watson

    Luke Watson

    Il y a 7 heures

    Did this video had a different title? 🤔

  • bugz000


    Il y a 8 heures

    11:47 "hey vsauce, michael here."

  • SD sc0rch

    SD sc0rch

    Il y a 8 heures

    Q --- do these compliant mechanisms get coupled with piezoelectric materials?? seems like it would be a natural fit and or application

  • SD sc0rch

    SD sc0rch

    Il y a 8 heures


  • Mush V. Peets

    Mush V. Peets

    Il y a 9 heures

    He was right w/r/t/ the elephant's trunk, actually. It _does_ go up and in. Just that that movement happens to be cancelled by the rest of the elephant. :P As for those silicon clickety bits, does this mean we can now etch compact mechanical computers with the same techniques used to make compact electronic computers?

  • Kutulue


    Il y a 9 heures

    Wow this completely blows my Non-Compliant mechanisms out of the water.

  • Alex Dearman

    Alex Dearman

    Il y a 9 heures

    Great vid. What is the white plastic that was used for the elephant etc?

  • Tunde O

    Tunde O

    Il y a 9 heures

    8:27 , looks like a James C Maxwell bust

  • David Messer

    David Messer

    Il y a 11 heures

    Mechanical systems can be much more reliable than electronic ones. I wouldn't be surprised if nuclear bombs have many mechanical devices in them. I heard of a missile that used a spring-wound gyroscope instead of motor driven. It didn't use a battery that could go bad or need to be replaced. It only needed to run for a minute or so, so using mechanical energy made since. It could be stored for years without worrying about replacing the battery.

  • Wellful Goodness

    Wellful Goodness

    Il y a 12 heures

    I thought this was a new Aphex Twin song since that thing looks like his logo.

  • Iian


    Il y a 13 heures

    "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist."

  • Gamikom


    Il y a 14 heures

    You are excited about weapons of mass destruction... Unsubscribed!

  • Carlson Darlson

    Carlson Darlson

    Il y a 14 heures

    Hi! Michael, here.

  • Rodolfo Gonzalez Rivera

    Rodolfo Gonzalez Rivera

    Il y a 15 heures

    I can see compliant mechanisms implemented in car engines sometime in the future

  • SgtRevan


    Il y a 16 heures

    Begs the question, why are these not mainstream yet?

  • Gaming Casualties

    Gaming Casualties

    Il y a 17 heures

    bending parts will break easily

  • Christopher Moye

    Christopher Moye

    Il y a 17 heures

    Mind beyond blown

  • scanlime


    Il y a 17 heures

    flexures are cool; too bad about the nuclear weapons tho

  • Roberto Smith

    Roberto Smith

    Il y a 18 heures

    Stop trying to be a comedian and interrupting the guy. Makes it too annoying to watch.

  • Zareth Wilson

    Zareth Wilson

    Il y a 18 heures

    AMAZING. I'm truly staggered. I screamed myself hoarse and wept tears of joy.

  • sunshineo23


    Il y a 18 heures


  • Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface

    Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface

    Il y a 19 heures

    9:50 people don't seem to realize how similar many properties are of metals and plastics.

  • Mauricio Ahumada

    Mauricio Ahumada

    Il y a 19 heures

    0:30 the chair in the back is so happy to be on camera

  • LogicalOne


    Il y a 19 heures

    this is so amazing.

  • Lizard Mann

    Lizard Mann

    Il y a 19 heures

    Let's classify random informaton we definitly will not use^^

  • Bastiproton


    Il y a 20 heures

    Am I the only one who thinks the thing in the thumbnail kinda looks like two people in the missionary position?

  • Roko Lazić

    Roko Lazić

    Il y a 21 heure

    I thought I was going to see a video about machine pressing. This is much better

  • Sanzo


    Il y a 21 heure

    I was thinking how silimar he and physics girl was at presenting. And there they were.

  • Ben The Shrubber

    Ben The Shrubber

    Il y a 21 heure

    super foward thinking applied materials science.. wonder what happens when i stick my finger in that there but anyway i thought the problem wasnt 'how can we get flexible materials into things/ how can flexible material work for us' but ' how can we make flexible materials reliable and what engineering and material science is required to produce the material that can do this and withstand and tolerate it'

  • Syam Ahmad

    Syam Ahmad

    Il y a 22 heures

    hoo, i guessed the same... 4:45

  • wiebe V aken

    wiebe V aken

    Il y a 22 heures

    I got a veritasium advertisement on this video... Nice

  • Genesis Gaming

    Genesis Gaming

    Il y a 22 heures

    Am I the only one that thinks the thumbnail looks sexual?

  • Dom Arseneault

    Dom Arseneault

    Il y a 22 heures

    Wild Prusa @11:40

  • XHAD


    Il y a jour

    You would need to replace the entire system if even one section of it breaks thou

  • Dan Lorett

    Dan Lorett

    Il y a 20 heures

    Nah. The ones they showed were just single pieces. Like anything else you could build entire systems out of these pieces and just replace any broken parts like we already do with normal mechanical systems. Also replacements would be cheaper and easier to get - no more ordering parts and waiting for them to be delivered - just download the file (if you don't have it already) and 3D print it.

  • deepblueyonderspage


    Il y a jour

    I totally got the elephant!!! Man I'm feeling smart today. Take that holiday inn express! lol



    Il y a jour

    ok seeing this stuff reduced to no wear hmm why not use these complient mechnisims to replace the moving parts of a car engine i can easily see them replace cams and pistons

  • Bady89


    Il y a jour

    Are you happy now FRdownload ?

  • WC 1A

    WC 1A

    Il y a jour


  • Ligma Nutz

    Ligma Nutz

    Il y a jour

    That clutch is so cool



    Il y a jour


  • Arwyn Evans

    Arwyn Evans

    Il y a jour

    1:10 italian boys.

  • smherczeg


    Il y a jour

    I was very satisfied to see everyone going "ooohhh!" just like how I am sitting here now.

  • Bacon Gravy

    Bacon Gravy

    Il y a jour

    One step closer to surgical nanites.

  • mark grissom

    mark grissom

    Il y a jour

    I can't stand it.... Let me put my finger in there lol

  • Neet


    Il y a jour

    Rude, distasteful interview 0/10

  • Dylan V

    Dylan V

    Il y a jour

    Its great to see people are starting to use flexibility as an advantage in designs (even though I personally never use it). My concern is that when using flexible materials in designs like the WMD activation device, you would have to really see how long thin pieces of whatever material they would use can last without input for years. From my experiences, when things are just sitting out, events in a temperature controlled room, they're going to degrade, plastics especially. I'm not trying to sound like an ass but that switch test is definitely flawed. Sure you can take a freshly molded/printed plastic switch and it works as he said over a million times without breaking, but that was also in an environmentally controlled room. I would like to see how well it works after going through heating and cold cycles, in different humid environments, and after just sitting for extended periods of time. If it can do all those better than traditional switches then you've got yourself a good design.

  • Abhinav PV

    Abhinav PV

    Il y a jour

    I break my heart when he said the information is classified😭

  • doopliss21


    Il y a jour

    Aphex Twin thumbnail

  • Umbra


    Il y a jour

    "He's pretty nonchalant about his work." Just bragged about how his book is the most cited source in compliant mechanisms and over-exaggerated about how all engineers do nothing but design against flexion.

  • jianhe1234


    Il y a jour

    Mechanical fatigue due to repeated movement is one thing, heat cycle fatigue is another. Would like to see how it tested against conventional tools in a heat cycle environment, maybe the machine turns on and it got hot, and then turns off and cools again. Or rather cycle life in extreme temperature conditions. Very interesting video

  • Edward Carnby

    Edward Carnby

    Il y a jour

    Isn't this video kind of pointless? I mean, _of course_ machines that bend are better than machines that don't bend. It's a foregone conclusion - if I have a device that can do X, and another device that can do X + A, then the device that can do X + A wins every time. The only reason that wouldn't be so is because of cost considerations and that's not a factor here. Anyone with the functioning intelligence of a eighth grader should be able to understand this fairly readily without having to watch 13 minute long video on the matter... But then I suppose the creator wouldn't be able to keep raking in that sweet sweet ad revenue on FRdownload, so there's that, I guess.

  • The Tired Kitty

    The Tired Kitty

    Il y a jour

    Why are there so many dank doodle memes in the comments XD.

  • The Devil In The Circuit

    The Devil In The Circuit

    Il y a jour

    @11:32 "Nook-yoo-ler weapons." Professor Howell, you're embarrassing us all.

  • fireyhand


    Il y a jour

    so how do they deal with fatigue

  • higgsbosonseeker


    Il y a jour

    Fine I give up youtube!!! Stop recommending me this... Oh.. that is fascinating.

  • Paulo Castro

    Paulo Castro

    Il y a jour

    geometry is better therefore tools that can shape shift is better every engineer knows that

  • bbbzerk


    Il y a jour

    This video was super fascinating.



    Il y a jour

    Bite my shiny metal a**, meatbags! BENDER BENDER BENDER!

  • SentinelPrimek


    Il y a jour

    Wow, one of the most amazing things I've seen.

  • Nick Hurley

    Nick Hurley

    Il y a jour

    I learned sooooo much here.

  • Oengus Fearghas

    Oengus Fearghas

    Il y a jour

    While I do appreciate and understand the benefits of flex in some applications there are some others where it is a poor design choice. Living hinges as an example.

  • Marko Medenčić

    Marko Medenčić

    Il y a jour

    can you make a camera gyroscope like this?

  • Chase Gwaltney

    Chase Gwaltney

    Il y a jour

    Professor SOO cool helping make nuclear weapons. He is a looser. Also those vice grips are garbage.

  • What, me worry?

    What, me worry?

    Il y a jour

    Most Intriguing!! Are these student ideas?

  • Jordan Sugarman

    Jordan Sugarman

    Il y a jour

    I can definitely see the appeal of using these in spacecraft applications. High-precision movement with no need for lubrication.

  • James Sicat

    James Sicat

    Il y a jour

    Metal fatigue?

  • joseph sebastian

    joseph sebastian

    Il y a jour

    9:44 centrifugal clutch. It already exist but not like this.

  • AutomotiveCNC


    Il y a jour

    A version of this was used by the Bulgarian inventor Rumen Antonov who invented the automatic transmission that works without hydraulic or electric actuators. www.greencarcongress.com/2008/05/antonov-develop.html

  • FBI


    Il y a jour


  • Awfulmasterhat


    Il y a jour

    this is 100% cooler than I thought it would be

  • Niidea1986


    Il y a jour

    the first thing that came to my mind was the lauf gravel fork

  • Duck King

    Duck King

    Il y a jour

    i remember the old saying of japanese when they make a katana long long time ago, "bend is better than break". now i understand.

  • corisco tupi

    corisco tupi

    Il y a jour

    11:47 Vsauce moment

  • Trust in Dog

    Trust in Dog

    Il y a jour

    Hah. I got the elephant one.

  • DSRReacts


    Il y a jour

    3:08 1 pound force results in 30 pounds of force INFINITE ENERGYa

  • Mush V. Peets

    Mush V. Peets

    Il y a 8 heures

    Aye, 1 lbf over a long path = 30 lbf over an exceedingly short distance. Cool, but sadly not magic.

  • IceDevias


    Il y a 18 heures

    Wait a second....If I will put brick on another brick.....and betveen them I will put device what will use energy stroed between them....we won!!!....coooool........ Now we must write to Mlack Mesa they should start on project already!!!

  • Dan Lorett

    Dan Lorett

    Il y a 20 heures

    somebody fell asleep in physics class

  • IceDevias


    Il y a jour

    in practice y talkin aboooout.......?

  • None Ofyerbisness

    None Ofyerbisness

    Il y a jour

    Wrong. Trebuchet > catapult.

  • Mike O'.

    Mike O'.

    Il y a 2 jours

    Well, I hope so. It'd be a lot better than 0000

  • Imnotgoing Sideways

    Imnotgoing Sideways

    Il y a 2 jours

    Who else was NOT fooled by that elephant. =^-^=

  • DoomRater


    Il y a 2 jours

    So these are the kinds of mechanisms we'd want in a permanent data archive of the internet and multimedia culture.

  • Evade & Ignite

    Evade & Ignite

    Il y a 2 jours

    These Aphex Twin videos just keep getting weirder.

  • Gastel


    Il y a 2 jours

    Aphex Twin brought me here... by accident.

  • Cynical Optimist

    Cynical Optimist

    Il y a 2 jours


  • dwavenminer


    Il y a 2 jours

    At first I was a little skeptical, but then I rememberd about the huge boost in both energy efficiency and durability that was brought to walking robots by simply adding elastic tendons to thier legs...

  • Bear up

    Bear up

    Il y a 2 jours

    Great idea problem is that they will be made to fail so they will need to be replaced more often.

  • Sploit Bot

    Sploit Bot

    Il y a 2 jours

    My phone works better when bent!

  • Brain in a Vat

    Brain in a Vat

    Il y a 2 jours

    Brilliant! This is the height of what the internet is good for! 10/10

  • adam conard

    adam conard

    Il y a 2 jours

    cool and all, but you showed nothing useful that would sell. i sure haven't seen those pliers at work yet. and nukes are safed with their neutron generators so ...not giving a free like on this one yet

  • Exastiken


    Il y a 2 jours

    How is the lifetime of compliant mechanisms vs conventional mechanisms?

  • evgiz0r


    Il y a 2 jours

    cool! Time to try these on my 3d printer :)

  • Aleksej Zavodilov

    Aleksej Zavodilov

    Il y a 2 jours

    Awesome thanks!!

  • Valon Selimaj

    Valon Selimaj

    Il y a 2 jours

    "Im 40% wire"

  • Robert Jones

    Robert Jones

    Il y a 2 jours

    Makes sense considering that most living things in the animal kingdom are basically a gestalt of compliant mechanisms.

  • Colby V

    Colby V

    Il y a 2 jours

    Are you happy youtube??? I finally clicked it.

  • Adam Brzozowski

    Adam Brzozowski

    Il y a 2 jours

    Is it possible to print out a titanium body suit?

  • Bluurrg


    Il y a 2 jours

    Are you happy FRdownload recommendations? I watched it

  • TheCommon Man

    TheCommon Man

    Il y a 2 jours


  • Jamie Taylor

    Jamie Taylor

    Il y a 2 jours

    this is the future

  • Jamie Taylor

    Jamie Taylor

    Il y a 2 jours

    THIS dude that invented it is a GENIUS!!

  • mohamad jawad fakhreldine

    mohamad jawad fakhreldine

    Il y a jour

    I hope it's used for good though!