When, in the early eighteen hundreds, Frankenstein created his creature, he was disappointed by its hideous looks. Today, Frankenstein would have done much better using 3D modeling techniques to design the body parts and replacing the big bolts that kept the creature’s head attached to its torso by a clever invisible click-lock system. The last step, actually building the body parts, has now almost become a reality thanks to the work of researchers of the University of Pennsylvania.
So far, bioengineers have successfully generated 2D living tissue but engineering larger 3D structures has proved difficult. For cells to stay alive they need a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. When structured in 2D layers the cells can extract oxygen from their environment. But when cells are stacked in 3D those blocked-in quickly die off.