PPE product design and pavilion design.

Thesis Statement

Covid-19 pandemic has impacted us socially and environmentally. To be better prepared for the future pandemics, better designed personal protective equipments are needed for closer social connection and a more sustainable future. This project explores conceptual possibilities of PPEs in a foreseeable future.


The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed our lives. Governments have implementations of vaccines, social distancing, and wearing face coverage to slow down the spread. However, people feel more stressed and unsociable because a basic need for social interaction is being suppressed. For example, we fear walking close to others, our expressions are blocked behind masks when communicating, and we are less active in large social gatherings. According to research, a lack of emotional cues can result in more aggression online toward races, genders, and ethnicities. Another more critical problem of single-use PPE is the pollution burden it brings to the environment. According to MIT estimate, 7,200 tons of disposable masks waste is generated every day, and they are not biodegradable.

If covid is never going away, it is better to be prepared for the future pandemics, better designed PPE solutions are needed to mitigate the above social and environmental problems. This thesis aims to create an exhibit to explore the conceptual possibilities of PPEs in the foreseeable future. The products will be designed for a closer social connection and a more sustainable future.

The exhibit will be in a pavilion form. The intended audience will be investors, people who are interested in preventive designs and future-oriented designs. This exhibit will provide a future outlook on how we can better prepare for future pandemics in a welcoming, inviting, and open-minded way. I will research how covid has impacted our social life, investigate deeper reasons why pandemic causes social disconnectedness, do a survey on the inconveniences of current PPEs and safety protocol, as well as study the definition of sustainability to better address the problems.

Research Questions

  1. How has life change since Covid? What are the inconveniences?
  2. What are the reasons why the pandemic causes decreased social connectedness?
  3. How can nowadays technologies be used in PPE?


NEXT is an outdoor structure in an innovation festival setting aiming to showcase creative possibilities to address the social and environmental problems under pandemics.

Tianting Sun

Chang Kim—Primary Advisor
Graphic Design Professor, SJSU

Ozgur Keles—Secondary Advisor
Industrial Design Professor, SJSU

Connie Hwang—Tertiary Advisor
Graphic Design Professor, SJSU

Brandon Brown Mary Gutierrez Phi Ho Linh Hoang Brandon Huynh Rachel Lee Hefan Lim En Yu Ma Miguel Morejon Dana Nissan Anela Oliveros Sylvia Ow-Yang Ryan Parajas Karla Peralta Sarah Sauerzopf Chako Shinmoto Tanya Shrivastava Wenwen Su Tianting Sun Hung Tsai Thanhthao Van Effy Wang