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


  1. John Kelton

    John Kelton

    9 саат мурун

    That’s super cool, and super useless

  2. Neon Eviscerator

    Neon Eviscerator

    20 саат мурун

    Asserting that any kind of robot or machine is 'better' is very misleading. Please stop doing it it pisses me off. It's true that machines like this are better suited for certain applications than current technologies, but no technology is objectively 'better' than any other, it all depends entirely on what you're designing it to do.



    22 саат мурун

    Makes me think of a portable bridge that can reach different elevations . Mobil and strong maybe even remote

  4. Voltaic Fire

    Voltaic Fire

    Күн мурун

    Love it!

  5. Kryptonite


    Күн мурун

    1.5k thumbs down from hard robots

  6. A man of no reputation

    A man of no reputation

    Күн мурун

    They're benders.

  7. Marcy


    Күн мурун

    Polish sausage robot! That's brilliant! :D

  8. dav snow

    dav snow

    Күн мурун

    I'm so bloody glad I don't wear headphones.

  9. M L

    M L

    Күн мурун

    An octahedral octopus? An octahedropus?

  10. Mr Picky

    Mr Picky

    Күн мурун

    yes all the metal parts and gears look very soft

  11. FeedMeSalt


    Күн мурун

    The primary reason for hard bots is strength accuracy stability and durability. A sooft machine will tear apart over long periods of time and wont repeat the same exact motion well, as you said, where as say tracks or a foot need lubed and replaced every year/decade.

  12. ShaunBonJovi


    2 күн мурун

    Why wear a mask outside? I can see the inspiration for this soft robot is not porn related.

  13. JamieJamez


    3 күн мурун

    We are now one step closer to creating Rover from "The Prisoner".

  14. Gunzo Berelo

    Gunzo Berelo

    4 күн мурун

    Why knees make human movement better?! :D :D Ou this fun vid descriptions :D

  15. 진실추적


    5 күн мурун

    Good morning I am a young man in Korea Korea is now entering an aging society If you introduce it to Korea from the beautiful country of the United States, please tell us some things that can help the weak and the elderly and help Korea. Korea is severely corrupted by corruption and corruption. Please help Korea.

  16. Mc Len

    Mc Len

    5 күн мурун

    100% Big hero 6 inspired soft robots hahaha very flexible.

  17. Kroidi


    5 күн мурун

    you should make your voiceover monophonic I think, it makes it better I promise

  18. Rabee J

    Rabee J

    5 күн мурун

    I wonder whether a tubeless tire sealant would proof this robot against punctures

  19. rawrshack tsu

    rawrshack tsu

    5 күн мурун

    So you made the same video, twice. Good job.

  20. Pola & Tiger

    Pola & Tiger

    6 күн мурун

    Why soft robots are better. Because they are closer to the build of living creatures. And evolution shows that we are build very well. Our hard bones tend to break and our soft flesh and skin protects them. Soft robots are more fit than the hard ones. And of course that one robot is a hybrid, just like us, humans and aliens.

  21. El John Kraft

    El John Kraft

    6 күн мурун

    Is it just me or did i just take 5 minute to understand the title, i lost to much brain cells to understand

  22. potezny plemnik

    potezny plemnik

    7 күн мурун

    polska mentioned

  23. Ferrlix


    8 күн мурун

    GUI = gooey?

  24. savagex466


    8 күн мурун

    I wouldent say there better. It depends what you want it for.



    8 күн мурун

    0:48 , 2 Rs Mask is famous everywhere ❤️

  26. Nediak


    9 күн мурун

    Compliant robots could definitely have use in rescue through tight places

  27. HowToBuildIt


    9 күн мурун

    I get kiwico crates (mine is tinker crate)

  28. John McGill

    John McGill

    10 күн мурун

    Kiwi Co is definitely something that would interest me when I have kids

  29. Ryan W

    Ryan W

    11 күн мурун

    “...as we want robots to work closer and closer with humans.” 😳😳😳

  30. hxhshow9


    11 күн мурун

    until 5:58 i had absolutely no idea what this video was about.

  31. Felipe Rogel

    Felipe Rogel

    11 күн мурун

    not a single Bender reference...

  32. leo sema

    leo sema

    11 күн мурун

    This guy makes adverts more interesting

  33. Efrain Munoz

    Efrain Munoz

    12 күн мурун

    Corporations gotta corporate.

  34. Yuri Lopes

    Yuri Lopes

    12 күн мурун

    "Soft Robots That Bend Are Better" Interstellar: MONOLITH

  35. Joe Alias

    Joe Alias

    12 күн мурун

    "but why would you want to soft robot in the first place?" WELL HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO CUDDLE A HARD ROBOT??

  36. Jakub Jandourek

    Jakub Jandourek

    12 күн мурун

    ... and the robots they bend are the best!

  37. Aniket Goel

    Aniket Goel

    12 күн мурун

    Baymax! OP!

  38. Mtpb83boss


    12 күн мурун

    The person who invented the wheel is rolling in their grave right now

  39. Deepesh Malhotra

    Deepesh Malhotra

    13 күн мурун

    Boston Dynamics left the chat...

  40. Harsh Sawant

    Harsh Sawant

    13 күн мурун

    Bender is not happy

  41. Thanga Meenakshi

    Thanga Meenakshi

    13 күн мурун

    "Why would you want a soft robot" Ummm... My friend's research purposes.

  42. Vintage USA Tech

    Vintage USA Tech

    14 күн мурун

    If you don't think that you are being programmed by the influencers that you watch. Play the shot game and every time you see someone wearing a mask in this video and use the word compliant well you know the game and a double bonus for those of you that pick up on the other words that have recently been added to our public narrative. But those of you who can't see it never mind me and just OBEY!

  43. Baek-Hyeon Jang

    Baek-Hyeon Jang

    14 күн мурун

    big hero six?

  44. Jacob Ford

    Jacob Ford

    14 күн мурун

    I mean when you think about it, humans are squishy and we work pretty well.

    • StrangeTerror


      Күн мурун

      @Papa Hairy maaaaybe 😉

    • Poldovico


      Күн мурун

      @StrangeTerror Well, it's not secondary anymore.

    • Papa Hairy

      Papa Hairy

      Күн мурун

      @StrangeTerror watched the recent scishow video about the original purpose of bones, have you?

    • StrangeTerror


      2 күн мурун

      @Edgar Omar Loroña Perez Actually the structural support of our bones seems to be a secondary function. Originally they were just little chunks of calcium and magnesium. Spread throughout the body to be used as mineral storage/buffers. Now obviously that was long before we were even reptiles much less mammals

    • Pola & Tiger

      Pola & Tiger

      6 күн мурун

      Hybrid is the answer. Bones hard, flesh soft.

  45. Państwo Piesto

    Państwo Piesto

    14 күн мурун

    I'm no longer afraid of the judgement day.

  46. Christopher Reisner

    Christopher Reisner

    14 күн мурун

    No disrespect to the robot, but my favorite part was the Kiwi Co. ad at the end. Those kits make me wish I had a couple of school age kids running around so I could play with their toys. 😁 Kids' brains are just information sponges until they hit puberty.

  47. UberKrassMann


    14 күн мурун

    oh you think that robot is safe do you? just wait till it figures out how to squeeze the life out of you boa constrictor style.

  48. Huntracony


    14 күн мурун

    Bad title. Disliked. This is "The advantages of soft robots," and I'd definitely say they're interesting, but everything I've seen in this video is in the proof-of-concept stage and have only demonstrated the ability to move on a flat surface and pick up a ball. Note, by the way, that I don't think it can actually carry the ball as that entire triangle cannot move without dropping the ball. Yes, this is cool and has _theoretical_ benefits, but until (and unless) it is fully developed (and I hope it will be), you can't say they're better.

  49. Just Click It And Watch

    Just Click It And Watch

    14 күн мурун

    Small ball joints in compound form

  50. MrEnajiza


    15 күн мурун

    cant wait for the robots that bend over !!!

  51. Aurtisan Miner

    Aurtisan Miner

    15 күн мурун

    4:04. He must be thinking, “I knew clown school would come in handy one day!”

  52. StarStump


    15 күн мурун

  53. this guy

    this guy

    15 күн мурун

    This robot and Robocop would be best mates. Because, compliance.

  54. Matthew Warren

    Matthew Warren

    16 күн мурун

    Okay, I need to know what's going on with the string at 9:58 with Mark Rober

    • Thanga Meenakshi

      Thanga Meenakshi

      13 күн мурун

      I'd guess that the string is actually a very thin tube connected to a slow air pump. Look exactly like a tube inflating

  55. NiceLord


    16 күн мурун

    Omg I was thinking of Baymax, so it was so cool when he mentioned him!

  56. ’̈́


    17 күн мурун


  57. Lance Cruwys

    Lance Cruwys

    17 күн мурун

    Do you not still need electronics to power these soft robots? I don't see how that would benefit miners. I'm one confused dude.

  58. Nellit McKerin

    Nellit McKerin

    17 күн мурун

    Huh I guess that's the direction humanity decided to go in. Soft and agile machines.

  59. Fairyplay


    17 күн мурун

    "I have a GUI in Matlab", what a fucken madlad lol.

  60. MammothBehemoth


    17 күн мурун

    That pneumatic turtle thing is more ground breaking, in how I see it. Most of our mechanical implements are driven by circular mechanics. Drills, vibrations, pumping motion, swaying arms, rolling, picking, sorting, etc...utilizing rotors, rollers, tubes, chains, fulcrum, arms, weights, etc..everyday mechanics are usually driven by a rotating or semi rotating engine.

  61. Chad T

    Chad T

    17 күн мурун

    this is dumb and isn't practical. biggest contribution is whatever models are developed. but you can waste 5 years getting a phd in it just to go work for google or tesla, doing something that's not soft robots, and then need to make up for the 5 years of wages you missed out on. with too specialized a field your employers are limited and less time available to job hop your breakeven ends up around age 35 - 40, congrats you wasted the best years of your life (at least financially).

  62. Yi Zhang

    Yi Zhang

    17 күн мурун

    You should've put the Big Hero Six reference at the beginning of the video to hook more viewers.

  63. manton harding

    manton harding

    18 күн мурун

    If you built a ten thousand of those out of kevlar you could be a bond Villain.

  64. Mayur


    18 күн мурун

    People are so smart..

  65. Fleato


    18 күн мурун

    soooooooo boston dynamics is making gundams, and these guys are making baymax XD

  66. Connor Hobbs

    Connor Hobbs

    18 күн мурун

    You could probably use this concept to made extremely small to store, and easily replaceable wheels. Combined with the ability to inflat them from an external compressor than stored, and transported gasses. They provide a good weight and size saving on a payload

  67. Carter


    18 күн мурун


  68. Sun Gear

    Sun Gear

    18 күн мурун

    Use foam tubes?

  69. Jac Crystal

    Jac Crystal

    18 күн мурун

    The curve always has it. Imagine a flat planet, it'd crack in the middle. Ain't no lines anyway but objects in a certain disposition to each other, static or moving.

  70. Seraphim Chekotun

    Seraphim Chekotun

    18 күн мурун

    Mmmhhhh "soft robot" I think about Baymax!

  71. Fortnum Sound

    Fortnum Sound

    18 күн мурун

    Compliant. Unlike George Floyd

  72. Mattia Giambirtone

    Mattia Giambirtone

    19 күн мурун

    You know someone is a researcher when they make GUIs in MATLAB, yikes

  73. james jayawara

    james jayawara

    19 күн мурун

    So robot waifus that are soft are possible...

    • james jayawara

      james jayawara

      15 күн мурун

      @Stacy McCabe No.

    • Stacy McCabe

      Stacy McCabe

      15 күн мурун

      Stop what your thinking

  74. Quillo Manar SFM

    Quillo Manar SFM

    20 күн мурун

    "WE named them after sausages" And one of them isn't the Wurst, you disappoint me.

    • Smyczeq


      19 күн мурун

      You have Kiełbasa tho

  75. fritz


    20 күн мурун

    awesome and i they look like more alive

  76. NickNew


    20 күн мурун

    'Soft Robot " is my pet name for my boyfriend

    • the engineer

      the engineer

      18 күн мурун

      i call my loved one "steel mann"

    • Living Trashbag

      Living Trashbag

      18 күн мурун

      Umm is he impotence??

  77. Augustine Mcrae

    Augustine Mcrae

    20 күн мурун

    The synonymous pelican selectively object because aftershave rheologically start since a watery french. true, spotty era

    • Brendan Cross

      Brendan Cross

      18 күн мурун

      Please help, I tried to read this and now smell burnt toast

  78. Mhu


    20 күн мурун

    "sir... SIR!!" "Get me, ONE O' THOSE"

  79. Jesse Martinez

    Jesse Martinez

    21 күн мурун

    😂🤦🏽‍♂️🤖 I see how his world is destroying his self now😂😂😂🥱

  80. Jesse Martinez

    Jesse Martinez

    21 күн мурун

    1:44 I like how these people think We’re Stupid how come you don’t kick the Metal

  81. Josh Lewis

    Josh Lewis

    21 күн мурун

    So we have already created 2 general species, or genus of robots. Soft, and Hard. I imagine in a scientific fiction future, the Hard robots will dominate the Soft robots.

    • Furinick


      17 күн мурун

      I need to get my mind out of the gutter

  82. Cherry Sun

    Cherry Sun

    21 күн мурун


  83. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray

    21 күн мурун

    "But why would you want a soft robot in the first place?" Because they are fricking awesome and look creepy/cool, that's why. Honestly. Some people got no soul.

    • Jesse Martinez

      Jesse Martinez

      21 күн мурун

      😂🤦🏽‍♂️🤖 I see how his world is destroying his self now😂😂😂🥱

    • Jesse Martinez

      Jesse Martinez

      21 күн мурун

      1:44 I like how these people think We’re Stupid how come you don’t kick the Metal

    • Keshuel


      21 күн мурун

      Being creepy/cool doesn’t make it worth investing millions into. Honestly. Some people got no brains.

  84. derald snipes

    derald snipes

    22 күн мурун

    Show the one inserted inside a sphere

  85. Piotr S-a

    Piotr S-a

    22 күн мурун

    Polish sausage rulez ✌🏻👍🏻😎🌭 Best greetings from Poland! 🇵🇱🙂

  86. Jesse Gibbons

    Jesse Gibbons

    22 күн мурун

    We've got punctuated rolling locomotion. Now how about we make substitutiary locomotion work?

  87. 1k4r0


    22 күн мурун

    cxu iu parolas esperanton kun mi

  88. sudd


    22 күн мурун

    mask wearing sheeple, time to stop be the problem and start being the solution. is not mask hysteria a symptom crazy enough to realize we have gone to far?

    • MsGen ÒxÓ

      MsGen ÒxÓ

      22 күн мурун

      Shut up

  89. Chouci Vang

    Chouci Vang

    22 күн мурун

    My word of the day is Compliance.

  90. Dennis 78

    Dennis 78

    23 күн мурун

    you should contact N.A.S.A.

  91. Drewski InTheCut

    Drewski InTheCut

    23 күн мурун

    I didn't know the odd ones out was a scientist

  92. Curas1


    23 күн мурун

    Aww Skynets so cute now ...

  93. HungryHedgehog


    23 күн мурун

    The Boston Dynamics robot videos are terrifying because they are made for military applications.

  94. J-dayday


    24 күн мурун

    ew im glad im not subscribed to a bunch of diaper wearing adults.

  95. A_Goopie_Person_Guy_Thing


    24 күн мурун

    Veritasium - why would you want a soft robot me - two words sex robots

  96. Gabriel Falcão

    Gabriel Falcão

    25 күн мурун

    So, a redtube robot...

  97. Bart Sych

    Bart Sych

    26 күн мурун

    wait you have one arm thats called Polish and the other named kiełbasa? those are the same thing

  98. G4M3R0079


    26 күн мурун

    0:17 Top 10 rappers Eminem was afraid to diss

  99. MDL


    26 күн мурун

    baymax already showed me that soft robots are better. :D

  100. timmyisded


    27 күн мурун

    you look like a math teacher