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2012 Top 24: Michael Peters, The Inventor

Michael Peters and the Actuator. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Michael Peters and the Actuator. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

A debilitating medical condition can have a devastating impact on many families, but Michael Peters drew inspiration from his grandmother when a stroke left her in a wheelchair.

He set out to build a device that attaches to the front of a wheelchair to keeps users' blood circulating by stimulating their leg muscles, which in turn prevents deep vein thrombosis.

Peters eventually emerged from his neighbour's garage with the Actuator.

"I had to work with what I had. And what I had were $5 bicycle parts off of online websites and PVC pipes picked up at Home Hardware."

The device eventually nabbed him a second-place finish in the engineering category at the Taiwan International Science Fair when he was in Grade 12.

Now a chemical and biological engineering student at the University of B.C., Peters is looking to pursue medical school.

"I'd like to combine my interest in technology and my interest in medicine into a biomedical engineering field," he said, adding he wants to produce more inventions that aren't like others on the market.

Peters said the main problem with a lot of medical equipment is that it is often cost-prohibitive.

He added the Actuator gave him the chance to prove it was possible to build something simple, efficient and cheap.

Between classes, Peters trains with UBC's track team and performs with a jazz combo group he started on campus.

"You always have energy if you really love what you're doing - and you don't watch TV, either."

We asked you to nominate the region's best and brightest students for our two-week feature Top 24 Under 24. Now we're profiling young people already making big strides in the world through volunteering, entrepreneurial spirit and technological innovation