The Viral Communications group creates scalable technologies that evolve with user inventiveness. We have a rich history in proximal and infrastructure-free networks and their applications, as well as in applications that integrate mobile computing with the spaces around us. These include codes embedded in objects and in images that make them self-describing and detectable. In 2013, we introduced a new focus on Ultimate Media (see UM listing.) This multi-sponsor program envisions a unified interface for all visual media, including television, movies, magazines, and newspapers. It is a generalized platform for social and data-driven exploration and creation of news, sports, and narrative experiences.



Andrew Lippman

Principal Investigator

Andrew Lippman has a more than 35-year history at MIT. His work at the Media Lab has ranged from wearable computers to global digital television. Currently, he heads the Lab's Viral Communications research group, which examines scalable, real-time networks whose capacity increases with the number of members. This new approach to telephony, sensor interconnection, and broadcasting transfers "mainframe communications" technology to distributed, personally defined, cooperative communicators. In addition, he co-directs MIT's interdisciplinary Communications Futures program. Lippman has directed research programs on digital pictures, personal computers, entertainment, and graphics, and he has served on advisory boards of technology start-ups. Currently, he is on the science councils of both non-profit and for-profit companies addressing global information infrastructures. Lippman received both his BS and MS in electrical engineering from MIT. In 1995 he completed his PhD studies at the EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Vivian DiepMS2015
Amir LazarovichMS2015
Savannah NilesMS2015
Dan SawadaMS2014
Jonathan SpeiserMS2014
Jeremy Rubin4 years UROP2014
Eyal ToledanoMS2013
Polychronis YpodimatopoulosMS, PhD2013
Grace WooMS, PhD2012
Dawei ShenMS, PhD2012
Julia MaMS2012
Matt BlackshawMS2012
Boris KizelshteynMS2011
Kwan Hong LeePhD2011
Hector YuenMS2006


A collection of historical projects, tweets, and memorabilia.

Word of Lip


For general questions and interests, please contact the group administrator:
Deb Widener

How to Apply

Graduate Students

If you are interested in the Media Lab Master's or PhD program, please visit the Media Lab admissions page and the MIT admissions page. All applications must go through the Media Lab.


If you are interested in doing a UROP with the Viral Communications group, please contact the group member whose work best aligns with your interests. More information about the UROP program can be found on the MIT UROP page.