LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Groundbreaking research and development at Notre Dame might change the way prosthetic limbs are developed.

Patrick Wensing, an aerospace professor at Notre Dame’s College of Engineering in Notre Dame, Indiana, is one of many researchers developing prosthetic limbs that use artificial intelligence to better “communicate” with humans.

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“It’s really hard to 100 percent replicate biological function, but we’re getting really close,” he tells CBS affiliate WSBT.

The project has been in development for about a year and a half now and is already in the prototype stage.

“The overall goal of the research that I do is to blur the line between ability and disability,” says grad student Ryan Posh.

The artificial limb that’s being developed is designed to do things that normal prosthetic limbs can’t, such as standing on tip-toes or walking up steps with ease.

“The types of devices that we’re working on are powered prosthetic limbs that have motors and batteries on board to help provide positive work to help you to get upstairs or to just help reduce your energy requirements from walking around,” Wensing explains.

Researchers at Indiana University and the University of Michigan are also developing prosthetic limbs that use AI, but Wensing says Notre Dame’s is unique.

“In terms of our looking at how to use these muscle firing sensors to put the human more in control of their limbs in a way that isn’t taxing, that’s individually ours,” he says.

The project is expected to be completed by next year.

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“I can’t wait to see that day. And I think whatever my reaction is, it will be a tiny fraction of that person we’re helping. So I can’t wait,” Wensing says.