“Aura”, a Microsoft-sponsored project at the Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (of SurfaceScapes fame) is putting an interesting spin on text-driven social networks like Twitter and Facebook to communicate status updates through XBOX Live avatars.
The project which spans across XBOX 360 and Windows Phone 7 leverages users’ personalized 3D avatars to create virtual scenes that reflect their current status through graphics rather than text. For example, in the video there are avatars seen golfing, DJing, dancing, rocking out and riding an airplane (quite literally) with a cityscape background to indicate what they’re doing and where.
Although it’s not entirely clear how it integrates to Twitter and Facebook or the scope of activities, I think this is a neat idea to make status updates more personal and easier at the same time. Considering the XBOX Live integration in Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft’s direct involvement in this project, we could very well see this idea in fruition very soon.
A prototype of the project is said to be demoed at E3 in June.