This was just a proof of concept to see if Colin's idea, that had been developing in his head since 1981, would actually work as envisioned. The first version of the design was built in 2005 and as soon as it was finished was tested on a variety of difficult terrain. Not only was it excellent at travelling over urban terrain, it was able to mount rolled gutters up to 6" high with ease.
This version was built using motors and control unit from a Quickie P300 (at left) with large powerful four pole motors 20" wheels and two lead acid gell batteries of 18Ah each (which were still very heavy).
It was built by Ivan Munro, one of the skilled technicials at Kangan Batman Institute of TAFE's Automotive School. Ivan did a great job and along with Colin supervising details, took Colin's CAD drawings and within a week had a functional proof of concept prototype built from 1" square mild steel tubing. With Frogs Legs suspension units on the front castors and a Bull Frog unit on the rear castor, it had exceptional ride. Ivan did a wonderful job and deserves credit for getting the chair design into reality for the first and most important time.
This version was able to reach speeds of 10 kph (6mph) as measured by a GPS and could mount 6" rolled curbs with ease just by brute motor force. At speed and sideways on steep slopes, the chair was very easy to control and very smooth to drive. This model surpassed our expectation of just a proof of concept and certainly showed that the centre articulation was a very efective way to maintain all wheel contact with uneven terrain. Bumps and ridges were just minor bumps and could be driven over at near full speed with safety. This was a fun chair to drive outside and inside it was able to negotiate tight turns better than Colin's small manual chair.
Here are photos (click the photos for large scale photos) of the proof of concept Protoype Version 1 wheelchair that could be adjusted by turning a worm drive shaft manually operating on a simple swing arm that allowed lengthening and shortening of the front wheelbase. The rear wheelbase length was adjustable but it was found that the minimum was vary stable.