Some folks are working on a way to manufacture cellular life. At the moment their goal is to create a life form that can stay alive for a few hours. The experiments at ProtoLife in Venice Italy have been able to produce several parts of a working cell, including vesicles apparently (which I am inferring from the attached picture). Although later on in the article Jack Szostak at Harvard Medical School claims that the next step is to create a cellular membrane. This is a little confusing -- I can't remember exactly from my biology class, but I thought vesicles were little hunks of proto-membranes that were used by the cell to create and maintain the cell membrane. Perhaps they haven't been able to get the vesicles to form together into a full membrane, or perhaps there is an intermediate process that the vesicles need to go through in order to become a full on membrane. Of course, ProtoType believes that the next step is to get a functioning genetic system. Perhaps ProtoType envisions using a 'genetic' system to organize and control the vesicles for the formation of complete membranes.
The challenges for creating artificial life were nicely summarized by Mr. Bornstein from the AP