Why Robots That Bend Are Better

Publicerades den 18 feb 2021
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


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    • @Omg Cyanide Yea, with what I know I kinda guesed it would not be possible. But you never know what sciense can come up with, to "break" the rules. Also, I have seen a monochrome rainbow before, and that made me Wonder about finding a way to make other colours come out. :)

    • ?? We can’t see other colors man they just will not go into the eye as that color

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  • to robots that can't bend: "bite my shiny metal ass" -Bender

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  • Of course robots that bend are better. Personally I prefer fire bending robots but people can have their own opinions

  • Is there such thing as flat? I do not think that such a thing exists. What is the flattest thing we have made?

    • Well it’s impossible to make something truly flat because we live in a 3d plain so yknow, but paper or tin foil is pretty flat

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  • Why Robots That Bend Are Benders?

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  • We are one step away from making a bender bot

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  • This does not change the fact that in Antarctica there are 21 million penguins and in Malta there are ~502,653 inhabitants. So if the penguins decide to invade Malta, each Maltese will have to fight 42 penguins.

  • E

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  • Everyone: oh thats a nice robot me: a7sIII 👀

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  • This looks like it would be useful in hostile environments

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  • I suppose it's safer, but still looks like it can pinch your fingers in the roller things

    • Yep.

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  • Cool concept. I notice the apexes of the robot are made of metal. Are they sharp enough to hurt a human?

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  • After talking about the under water exploration I was thinking that you could fill the tubes with water. Then I thought that instead of a rowing motion, instead use a fabric that when rolled through the motors would pull itself through the water. You would have to rotate the tubes into a 3 sided pyramid and have the return part of the tube be blocked by say a corner cone.

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  • We're so screwed when the future super AI sees what we've done to robots...

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  • NASA looking to explore Europa's oceans with one of these. Exciting!

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  • I like new concepts... but some wheels would drastically improve that robot... and some arms maybe??? A seat to carry around people??? So

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  • theres a question i have, if you drop a empty metal cup into a lunch box full of water upside down, why does it flip it self to be straight up again?

    • That's a question that could have a variety of answers and is unclear with a lot of guess work. Could be the shape of the cup how its dropped to the pressure of the air trapped inside the cup when it seals the rim with the water and wants to continue sinking. It's most probably the compression of the air trapped trying to escape forcing the cup over sideways and then finding its resting point then all the forces come to equilibrium.

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  • *Why do we need robots that can bend?* Simple. So we can finally say "What are you doing step-robot?😏"

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  • Back in my day robots were made of steel and worked 20h a day. It was not like today where this softies can’t even walk for God sake.

    • :D here where I live robots are soft on the outside, they have a solid bone structure, they are 100% recyclable. They run all day long without electricity. All you need is the lousy paper to run them... and then you just tell them what to do, no programming is needed they have a factory CPU setup.

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  • they better use them on mars... but hey... elon don't make soft robot

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  • 1:20- who made that one? I would like to look it up to lean more about it

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  • Kiss my shiny metal ... !

  • 0:17 "Hey honey, come and look at my soft robot." "If it's not a robot, I'm going to cut it off."

    • These are safer because in the event one gets outta hand, 5.56 will put it down.

  • Make a SOLID 2 core system, that projects soft noodles out... may be more worth for the soft things protect the core and you can have a stronger core that has all the power localized instead of multiple corners.

  • Inb4 Soft robots are safe... SHARP METAL IN THE EYE.

    • @Rav Singh Yeah, but here? I wouldnt my hand near that motor, yet alone a kid.

    • @googleslocik I think safe is supposed to be a relative term. There's definitely things that are classed safe in my industry but wouldn't want a kid around

    • Metal? Imagine getting your finger stuck in that roller, it would crush it. So this one isnt safe at all, in fact seems deceptively safe but very dangerous in reality, especially to a kid.

  • I'm just gonna say something about that asteroid video you made awhile back Would it be possible to take a say railgun And possibly shooting asteroid and split in 1⁄2 enough that it Avoids earth just asking because I don't think you're gonna see this but I would like you I hope you do

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  • This is why everyone likes bender

  • I don’t know much about 4-d stuff, but couldn’t this be used to simulate a tesseract?

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  • How to go faster than the speed of light :have the first clock send a pulse to the second one, then it starts, when the pulse gets sent back the lazer gets fired. The time it took - speed of the pulse = speed of light, even better if the pulse goes at the speed of light then you divide the time you get by half.

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  • 9:57 Is Mark Rober who is talking? i didnt know that you boys were friends, 2 of my favority chanels

  • These are safer because in the event one gets outta hand, 5.56 will put it down.