This made me all ranty. Why is an engineering school using this embarrassing PVC pipe mockup of a better car seat handle when THIS ALREADY EXISTS IN THE REAL WORLD? I don't know a thing about babies. I don't have one, don't have any close friends with one, nothing. But I am alive and observant and I just know I've seen one of these and thought, "Oh, that's a good idea." In under 10 seconds of searching I found this one.
Now come on NC State. Couldn't you have sprung for a model already on the market and compared those? I'm pretty sure that obscene franken-handle with the exposed bolt threads did nothing to decrease the weight. You couldn't get a doll that looked embarrassed to put in there? At least one pretending to be asleep so her friends don't see her in that thing.
I actually used to do some consulting for a mechanical design company back when I was professionally viable. They had a client that made baby stuff in China to sell at Walmart. They had me do some sewing work on a prototype baby bathtub that was a sort of hammock framed thing. Our main objective for the design was that it be stackable. Walmart wanted to optimize shelf space. I don't think these seats are stackable at all. Might not be a Walmart type product. Still, of all the things that can make a car seat more fancy and expensive I think putting a little kink in the molded plastic handle is pretty cheap. I hope it catches on. I'm not going to depend on NC State to drive innovation though.