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


  • Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface

    Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface

    4 minutes ago

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

  • Mauricio Ahumada

    Mauricio Ahumada

    11 minutes ago

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

  • LogicalOne


    23 minutes ago

    this is so amazing.

  • Lizard Mann

    Lizard Mann

    46 minutes ago

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

  • Bastiproton


    59 minutes ago

    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

    Hour ago

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

  • Sanzo


    2 hours ago

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

  • Ben The Shrubber

    Ben The Shrubber

    2 hours ago

    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

    2 hours ago

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

  • wiebe V aken

    wiebe V aken

    3 hours ago

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

  • Genesis Gaming

    Genesis Gaming

    3 hours ago

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

  • Dom Arseneault

    Dom Arseneault

    3 hours ago

    Wild Prusa @11:40

  • XHAD


    4 hours ago

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

  • Dan Lorett

    Dan Lorett

    Hour ago

    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


    5 hours ago

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



    5 hours ago

    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


    7 hours ago

    Are you happy now USdownload ?

  • WC 1A

    WC 1A

    8 hours ago


  • Ligma Nutz

    Ligma Nutz

    8 hours ago

    That clutch is so cool



    8 hours ago


  • Arwyn Evans

    Arwyn Evans

    8 hours ago

    1:10 italian boys.

  • smherczeg


    10 hours ago

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

  • Bacon Gravy

    Bacon Gravy

    10 hours ago

    One step closer to surgical nanites.

  • mark grissom

    mark grissom

    10 hours ago

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

  • Neet


    11 hours ago

    Rude, distasteful interview 0/10

  • Dylan V

    Dylan V

    11 hours ago

    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

    11 hours ago

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

  • doopliss21


    11 hours ago

    Aphex Twin thumbnail

  • Umbra


    12 hours ago

    "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


    12 hours ago

    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

    12 hours ago

    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 USdownload, so there's that, I guess.

  • The Tired Kitty

    The Tired Kitty

    14 hours ago

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

  • The Devil In The Circuit

    The Devil In The Circuit

    14 hours ago

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

  • fireyhand


    14 hours ago

    so how do they deal with fatigue

  • higgsbosonseeker


    15 hours ago

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

  • Paulo Castro

    Paulo Castro

    16 hours ago

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

  • bbbzerk


    16 hours ago

    This video was super fascinating.



    17 hours ago

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

  • SentinelPrimek


    18 hours ago

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

  • Nick Hurley

    Nick Hurley

    18 hours ago

    I learned sooooo much here.

  • Oengus Fearghas

    Oengus Fearghas

    18 hours ago

    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

    21 hour ago

    can you make a camera gyroscope like this?

  • Chase Gwaltney

    Chase Gwaltney

    22 hours ago

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

  • What, me worry?

    What, me worry?

    23 hours ago

    Most Intriguing!! Are these student ideas?

  • Jordan Sugarman

    Jordan Sugarman

    23 hours ago

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

  • James Sicat

    James Sicat

    Day ago

    Metal fatigue?

  • joseph sebastian

    joseph sebastian

    Day ago

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

  • AutomotiveCNC


    6 hours ago

    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


    Day ago


  • Awfulmasterhat


    Day ago

    this is 100% cooler than I thought it would be

  • Niidea1986


    Day ago

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

  • Duck King

    Duck King

    Day ago

    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

    Day ago

    11:47 Vsauce moment

  • Trust in Dog

    Trust in Dog

    Day ago

    Hah. I got the elephant one.

  • DSRReacts


    Day ago

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

  • Dan Lorett

    Dan Lorett

    Hour ago

    somebody fell asleep in physics class

  • IceDevias


    20 hours ago

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

  • None Ofyerbisness

    None Ofyerbisness

    Day ago

    Wrong. Trebuchet > catapult.

  • Mike O'.

    Mike O'.

    Day ago

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

  • Imnotgoing Sideways

    Imnotgoing Sideways

    Day ago

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

  • DoomRater


    Day ago

    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

    Day ago

    These Aphex Twin videos just keep getting weirder.

  • Gastel


    Day ago

    Aphex Twin brought me here... by accident.

  • Cynical Optimist

    Cynical Optimist

    Day ago


  • dwavenminer


    Day ago

    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

    Day ago

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

  • Sploit Bot

    Sploit Bot

    Day ago

    My phone works better when bent!

  • Brain in a Vat

    Brain in a Vat

    Day ago

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

  • adam conard

    adam conard

    Day ago

    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


    Day ago

    How is the lifetime of compliant mechanisms vs conventional mechanisms?

  • evgiz0r


    Day ago

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

  • Aleksej Zavodilov

    Aleksej Zavodilov

    Day ago

    Awesome thanks!!

  • Valon Selimaj

    Valon Selimaj

    Day ago

    "Im 40% wire"

  • Robert Jones

    Robert Jones

    Day ago

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

  • Colby V

    Colby V

    Day ago

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

  • Adam Brzozowski

    Adam Brzozowski

    Day ago

    Is it possible to print out a titanium body suit?

  • Bluurrg


    Day ago

    Are you happy USdownload recommendations? I watched it

  • TheCommon Man

    TheCommon Man

    Day ago


  • Jamie Taylor

    Jamie Taylor

    Day ago

    this is the future

  • Jamie Taylor

    Jamie Taylor

    Day ago

    THIS dude that invented it is a GENIUS!!

  • mohamad jawad fakhreldine

    mohamad jawad fakhreldine

    9 hours ago

    I hope it's used for good though!

  • Jamie Taylor

    Jamie Taylor

    Day ago

    but are they recyclable?

  • George Grund

    George Grund

    Day ago

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



    Day ago

    This is absolutely fascinating! Thank you!

  • Chad Graham

    Chad Graham

    Day ago

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

  • fanobennemsi


    Day ago

    I have SimpliSafe.

  • GAR mind DFKutulas

    GAR mind DFKutulas

    Day ago

    Nukes don't exist. Great video though.

  • 227Morgan


    Day ago

    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 USdownload (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!

  • Marian Buduroi

    Marian Buduroi

    Day ago

    a new friction model can be used in cars

  • jon elias

    jon elias

    Day ago

    She is more of a friend isnt she?

  • Sleepy


    Day ago

    Build an engine now

  • Tobytronic Cat

    Tobytronic Cat

    Day ago

    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.

  • Hardlydan


    Day ago

    Great video, I was utterly enthralled whist watching.

  • Vaat Dafaak

    Vaat Dafaak

    Day ago

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

  • wilwrk4tls


    4 hours ago

    +Vaat Dafaak No problem

  • Vaat Dafaak

    Vaat Dafaak

    10 hours ago

    wilwrk4tls thnx for info

  • wilwrk4tls


    16 hours ago

    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.

  • Sourcen


    Day ago


  • Eemeli Hietala

    Eemeli Hietala

    Day ago

    Why are you in my recommended?

  • Alystas


    Day ago

    Ok i'm scared now, knowing nuclear safety depends on something that fragile and prone to premature wear and tear :$

  • Dan May

    Dan May

    Day ago

    The educaishon in your country is going down, if those almost useless things can attract people.

  • Mark Melni

    Mark Melni

    Day ago

    Thank you. I am a subscriber and I am also an inventor. We were featured on Shark Tank and that opened doors to engineering and R&D experts that I never would have imagined. This episode has put me in the right direction for advancement in our Solar Connector. I love what you do. www.melni.org

  • lukloek


    Day ago

    Very good video! this is exactly the content i hope for in youtube channels like these!

  • I want to die

    I want to die

    Day ago

    399 That’s a great price

  • Mr-Bledi


    Day ago

    7:49 though this totally destroys theory of david guetta that he mentioned on his song when he says: Stone-hard as bulletproof glass i am titanium

  • ramon den Boer

    ramon den Boer

    Day ago

    but plastic is bad for the environment

  • mysmileisfake


    Day ago

    That's so cool, definitely learn something new today.

  • dan taylor

    dan taylor

    Day ago

    more plastic to fill up our already clogged oceans..............................great stuff.

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