The bottom-up construction of synthetic cells is one of the most intriguing and interesting research arenas in synthetic biology. Synthetic cells are built by encapsulating biomolecules inside lipid vesi- cles (liposomes), allowing the synthesis of one or more functional proteins. Thanks to the in situ synthesized proteins, synthetic cells become able to perform several biomolecular functions, which can be exploited for a large variety of applications. This paves the way to several advanced uses of synthetic cells in basic science and biotechnology, thanks to their versatility, modularity, biocom- patibility, and programmability. In the previous WIVACE (2012) we presented the state-of-the-art of semi-synthetic minimal cell (SSMC) technology and introduced, for the ﬁrst time, the idea of chemical communication between synthetic cells and natural cells. The development of a proper syn- thetic communication protocol should be seen as a tool for the nascent ﬁeld of bio/chemical-based Information and Communication Technologies (bio-chem-ICTs) and ultimately aimed at building soft-wet-micro-robots. In this contribution (WIVACE, 2013) we present a blueprint for realizing this project, and show some preliminary experimental results. We ﬁrstly discuss how our research goal based on the natural capabilities of biological systems to manipulate chemical signals ﬁnds a proper place in the current scientiﬁc and technological contexts. Then, we shortly comment on the experi- mental approaches from the viewpoints of (i) synthetic cell construction, and (ii) bioengineering of microorganisms, providing up-to-date results from our laboratory. Finally, we shortly discuss how autopoiesis can be used as a theoretical framework for deﬁning synthetic minimal life and minimal cognition, as well as a bridge between synthetic biology and artiﬁcial intelligence.
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