Why Machines That Bend Are Better

Joylandi 12-Mar, 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


  • "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."

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

  • Hi! Michael, here.

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

  • Begs the question, why are these not mainstream yet?

  • bending parts will break easily

  • Mind beyond blown

  • flexures are cool; too bad about the nuclear weapons tho

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

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

  • Bender!!!!

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

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

  • this is so amazing.

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

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

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

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

  • 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'

  • hoo, i guessed the same... 4:45

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

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

  • Wild Prusa @11:40

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

    • 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.

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

  • 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

  • Are you happy now UZ-tv ?


  • That clutch is so cool


  • 1:10 italian boys.

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

  • One step closer to surgical nanites.

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

  • Rude, distasteful interview 0/10

  • 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.

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

  • Aphex Twin thumbnail

  • "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.

  • 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

  • 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 UZ-tv, so there's that, I guess.

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

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

  • so how do they deal with fatigue

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

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

  • This video was super fascinating.

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

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

  • I learned sooooo much here.

  • 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.

  • can you make a camera gyroscope like this?

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

  • Most Intriguing!! Are these student ideas?

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

  • Metal fatigue?

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

    • 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


  • this is 100% cooler than I thought it would be

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

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

  • 11:47 Vsauce moment

  • Hah. I got the elephant one.

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

    • 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!!!

    • somebody fell asleep in physics class

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

  • Wrong. Trebuchet > catapult.

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

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

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

  • These Aphex Twin videos just keep getting weirder.

  • Aphex Twin brought me here... by accident.

  • trippy

  • 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...

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

  • My phone works better when bent!

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

  • 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

  • How is the lifetime of compliant mechanisms vs conventional mechanisms?

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

  • Awesome thanks!!

  • "Im 40% wire"

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

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

  • Is it possible to print out a titanium body suit?

  • Are you happy UZ-tv recommendations? I watched it


  • this is the future

  • THIS dude that invented it is a GENIUS!!

  • but are they recyclable?

  • ya but there's one big difference and that is the vise grips can stay closed

  • This is absolutely fascinating! Thank you!

  • 11:25 the moment when you realize your UZ-tv rabbit hole probably just showed the locking mechanism for nuclear weapon systems. Nothing to see here @Homeland Security...

  • I have SimpliSafe.

  • Nukes don't exist. Great video though.

  • EVERYONE Please go to movetoamend.org and sign the petition to have a constitutional amendment saying 1) corporations are NOT people and 2) money is NOT free speech. The video "Legalize Democracy" here on UZ-tv (30 min) does a good job of explaining why this is step ONE to solving ALL of the major issues confronting the average people struggling to get by and have their voices heard in a corrupt political system. Things look bad now, but we can FIX it all! Get behind the movement!

  • a new friction model can be used in cars

  • She is more of a friend isnt she?

  • Build an engine now

  • The 'compliant centrifugal clutch' old hat. Look at R/C model cars with i/c engines. These one-piece clutches are at least two decades old.

  • Great video, I was utterly enthralled whist watching.

  • that was awesome and all...but how do you 3d print titanium?

    • +Vaat Dafaak No problem

    • wilwrk4tls thnx for info

    • There are a couple of different ways, but any metal that can be powdered can be printed. One way is that a thin layer of powder is laid down and a binder is sprayed on it very precisely where you want to build the part. Then additional layers are put down, each with the binder where you are building the part. Essentially you glue the powder together and the loose powder falls away and you have a somewhat fragile powder part. Then you sinter the part and the powder fuses together to become solid. Another way is that instead of a binder you melt the powder with a laser in consecutive thin layers and each layer bonds to the layer before it, building up a part. It didn't need to be sintered because it's already been melted together with the laser. You can also get metal filament for a traditional consumer FDM 3D printer, print a part and then melt out the plastic to have an all metal part.