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Why Machines That Bend Are Better

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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:
www.compliantmechanisms.byu.edu
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

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Mar 12, 2019

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Comments 5 012
SWAGCOW
SWAGCOW 34 minutes ago
Cool idea. Even if the parts don't last as long as normal spring loaded components they can be 3d printed and replaced easily.
Neal Sterling
Neal Sterling 2 hours ago
Absolutely fascinating! Motion without any moving parts only using material properties.
Qlimax
Qlimax 2 hours ago
@ 5:10 You could put a ratchet setup on that pivot point and make for an interesting tool
David Abbett
David Abbett 3 hours ago
Stunning .... Thank you
André A.N
André A.N 3 hours ago
I got a great idea for not accidentally activating nuclear weapons: Don't fu**ing make nuclear weapons.
Bruno Mostert
Bruno Mostert 4 hours ago
it's all about you define "motion"
Malcolm Hughes
Malcolm Hughes 5 hours ago
i had some pegs that were compliant hinge but they blew apart and dropped my clothes on the ground. im interested in the temperature issues as metal gets cold but it gets brittle...
Max Headrom
Max Headrom 5 hours ago
Awesome! Why the suite when in Utah?
Building with Todd
Building with Todd 6 hours ago
Sorry, let me pick up my mind as it has just been blown! This video has my creative juices flowing like crazy and I have a tiny bit of experience with 3d printing and might have access to a printer and can't wait to click one of these devices in my own hands. Thanks for sharing and as always Keep Building👍
CatzHoek
CatzHoek 6 hours ago
That is cool technology
Paul Ocone
Paul Ocone 7 hours ago
Makes me wonder if there are any applications for musical instrument design. My dad repairs woodwind instruments, and he has to work with the challenges of traditional machines all the time.
Spencer Lemay
Spencer Lemay 8 hours ago
Anyone else think Aphex Twin when they clicked this video?
VianaAutoCenter
VianaAutoCenter 8 hours ago
Hello Derek can you make a video of the international space station component's and explain how long it took to build it?
VianaAutoCenter
VianaAutoCenter 9 hours ago
Hello Your videos are great. I learned a lot. Thanks!
Francesco Varrato
Francesco Varrato 9 hours ago
Pounds? Is it even a measure unit?
DDODJO
DDODJO 9 hours ago
This was amazing. Thank you!
Herman Woo
Herman Woo 9 hours ago
Wow glad there are smart people like this in the world.
Pharmatica
Pharmatica 9 hours ago
How will it hold up at -270 c in space?
arman rgun
arman rgun 10 hours ago
aphex twin logo!
Voyager
Voyager 12 hours ago
yeet
Ucmh
Ucmh 13 hours ago
As a numbers guy... this video has an unusually high ratio of likes to views.
Screw The Net
Screw The Net 13 hours ago
Build me a stepford wife, with al lthe right bendy parts. YEs, everyone and anyone can have their own kinds one day...but I get mine first I says! >,;,
Sammy Fiction
Sammy Fiction 13 hours ago
He doesn't know PepeLaugh
Noen
Noen 13 hours ago
BUDGET ELON MUSK
jjohnston94
jjohnston94 13 hours ago
I guessed right about the elephant. And yes, I would like a cookie. I'm fresh out.
Khushi Sharma
Khushi Sharma 13 hours ago
Hey everyone. I am starting a new science channel. I would appreciate any name ideas and tips... Thanks for the time : )
David Secrest
David Secrest 14 hours ago
Says silica Is as brittle as glass. Isn't silica glass?
SOUMYADEEP GHOSH
SOUMYADEEP GHOSH 14 hours ago
down and left
Unity Alpha
Unity Alpha 14 hours ago
oh my god this stuff is soooo cool. My inner child is screaming at me to get a hold of this stuff so i can bend it my self and stuff like that and understand how it works
Mohammed Medhat
Mohammed Medhat 14 hours ago
This killed me in my recommendations.
Slaphappy Duplenty
Slaphappy Duplenty 15 hours ago
Wow. Now we can finally invent springs.
I_Megaman_I
I_Megaman_I 15 hours ago
pretty cool, the next step would be an AI designing this things, like generative design but only for motion devices.
luketube
luketube 15 hours ago
Okay USvid, I watched it. Happy now?
Karataron
Karataron 16 hours ago
oddly satisfying video to help you physics
Duff Harris
Duff Harris 16 hours ago
So the new MacBook Pros are superior after all.
George Papag
George Papag 17 hours ago
Freaky cool!
Hayyan Media
Hayyan Media 19 hours ago
But do they biodegradable? Are making more items which will add to microplastics in the oceans?
trance dj
trance dj 20 hours ago
Prof Howell = Dentist from Hangover???
chris4072511
chris4072511 22 hours ago
That gripper lacks the key features of vice grips: adjustable distance jaws and locking when closed.
jjohnston94
jjohnston94 13 hours ago
Yeah, well, it's really more of a proof-of-concept piece than a market-ready product.
Luke Watson
Luke Watson 23 hours ago
Did this video had a different title? 🤔
bugz000
bugz000 Day ago
11:47 "hey vsauce, michael here."
SD sc0rch
SD sc0rch Day ago
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 Day ago
PHYSICS GIRL!!
Mush V. Peets
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
Kutulue Day ago
Wow this completely blows my Non-Compliant mechanisms out of the water.
Alex Dearman
Alex Dearman Day ago
Great vid. What is the white plastic that was used for the elephant etc?
Tunde O
Tunde O Day ago
8:27 , looks like a James C Maxwell bust
David Messer
David Messer Day ago
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
I thought this was a new Aphex Twin song since that thing looks like his logo.
arman rgun
arman rgun 10 hours ago
i know right
Iian
Iian Day ago
"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
Gamikom Day ago
You are excited about weapons of mass destruction... Unsubscribed!
Ricardo paixao
Ricardo paixao 13 hours ago
hm
Carlson Darlson
Hi! Michael, here.
Rodolfo Gonzalez Rivera
I can see compliant mechanisms implemented in car engines sometime in the future
SgtRevan
SgtRevan Day ago
Begs the question, why are these not mainstream yet?
Gaming Casualties
bending parts will break easily
Christopher Moye
Mind beyond blown
scanlime
scanlime Day ago
flexures are cool; too bad about the nuclear weapons tho
Roberto Smith
Stop trying to be a comedian and interrupting the guy. Makes it too annoying to watch.
Zareth Wilson
AMAZING. I'm truly staggered. I screamed myself hoarse and wept tears of joy.
sunshineo23
sunshineo23 Day ago
Bender!!!!
Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface
9:50 people don't seem to realize how similar many properties are of metals and plastics.
Mauricio Ahumada
0:30 the chair in the back is so happy to be on camera
LogicalOne
LogicalOne Day ago
this is so amazing.
Lizard Mann
Lizard Mann Day ago
Let's classify random informaton we definitly will not use^^
Bastiproton
Bastiproton Day 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 Day ago
I thought I was going to see a video about machine pressing. This is much better
Sanzo
Sanzo Day ago
I was thinking how silimar he and physics girl was at presenting. And there they were.
Ben The Shrubber
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 Day ago
hoo, i guessed the same... 4:45
wiebe V aken
wiebe V aken Day ago
I got a veritasium advertisement on this video... Nice
Genesis Gaming
Am I the only one that thinks the thumbnail looks sexual?
Dom Arseneault
Wild Prusa @11:40
XHAD
XHAD Day ago
You would need to replace the entire system if even one section of it breaks thou
Dan Lorett
Dan Lorett Day 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
I totally got the elephant!!! Man I'm feeling smart today. Take that holiday inn express! lol
TAKIZAWAYAMASHITA
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
Bady89 Day ago
Are you happy now USvid ?
WC 1A
WC 1A Day ago
POLE SMOKER. ALOOF JERK
Ligma Nutz
Ligma Nutz Day ago
That clutch is so cool
BENJAMIN GANDUS
YOU ARE ELON MUSK'S TWIN!!!!!!
Arwyn Evans
Arwyn Evans Day ago
1:10 italian boys.
smherczeg
smherczeg Day ago
I was very satisfied to see everyone going "ooohhh!" just like how I am sitting here now.
Bacon Gravy
Bacon Gravy Day ago
One step closer to surgical nanites.
mark grissom
mark grissom Day ago
I can't stand it.... Let me put my finger in there lol
Neet
Neet Day ago
Rude, distasteful interview 0/10
Dylan V
Dylan V Day 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 Day ago
I break my heart when he said the information is classified😭
doopliss21
doopliss21 Day ago
Aphex Twin thumbnail
Umbra
Umbra Day 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
jianhe1234 Day 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
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 USvid, so there's that, I guess.
The Tired Kitty
The Tired Kitty 2 days ago
Why are there so many dank doodle memes in the comments XD.
The Devil In The Circuit
@11:32 "Nook-yoo-ler weapons." Professor Howell, you're embarrassing us all.
fireyhand
fireyhand 2 days ago
so how do they deal with fatigue
higgsbosonseeker
higgsbosonseeker 2 days ago
Fine I give up youtube!!! Stop recommending me this... Oh.. that is fascinating.
Paulo Castro
Paulo Castro 2 days ago
geometry is better therefore tools that can shape shift is better every engineer knows that
bbbzerk
bbbzerk 2 days ago
This video was super fascinating.
BLACKB0MBER
BLACKB0MBER 2 days ago
Bite my shiny metal a**, meatbags! BENDER BENDER BENDER!
SentinelPrimek
SentinelPrimek 2 days ago
Wow, one of the most amazing things I've seen.
Nick Hurley
Nick Hurley 2 days ago
I learned sooooo much here.
Oengus Fearghas
Oengus Fearghas 2 days 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.
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