ETC Project Aura




Press Kit

About Us

In early January of 2010, Team Aura had the privilege of visiting the Microsoft LIVE Engagement Team at Microsoft HQ in Redmond Washington to pitch 3 concept games that would be used across multiple Microsoft platforms including the NEW Windows Phone 7 Series device.

The 3 game concepts were each unique as follows:

  • Family Pet Game

  • Live Treasure Hunt

  • Live Avatar

By the end of the meeting, the LIVE Engagement Team and Team Aura agreed on an Xbox Avatar-based game that creates a visualization of users on their social networks using their personally created Xbox LIVE Avatars.


To create an application that enables rich expressions of user interaction between people while using the Windows Phone 7 Series devices and Xbox consoles

The team's technical development to date has been quite rapid, with the following successes:

  • Application Framework complete

  • Able to post Action & Status to Database

  • Able to see Friends Action & Status

  • Twitter/Facebook integration complete

Team Aura continues to make weekly progress in the development of a rich and expressive application for Microsoft and its groundbreaking Windows Phone 7 Series device.


Research Highlights

Since the start of the project, the team has been doing an extensive research on the following areas in order to set the right direction for the project :

  • Target Demographics

  • Twitter User Behavior Analysis

  • Competitive Analysis

  • Visualization

Target Demographics
Creating a Twitter app is an important part of the project and the team began gathering more knowledge on demographics of Twitter users.

The team managed to find meaningful data from the research document of Pew Research Center and Morgan Stanley’s report on “How Teenagers Consume Media”. The fact that teenagers don’t use Twitter that much and not many of them have smart phones led us to not consider teenagers for the target demographic of our application. We decided to have college students (age 19~25) as our target demographic since they fall into the categories of both Twitter’s and video game console’s core user group.

Twitter User Behavior Analysis
As the research report, Twitter and Status Updating, from Pew Research Center suggests, more and more people are using Twitter to post their current status and see what others are up to.
The findings from the research has convinced us that we should focus on helping people to post their status or see the status of others in a more visually appealing and engaging way.

Competitive Analysis
Because the team is looking into adding game-like fun features to the application, we didn’t only took a look at mobile or desktop Twitter apps but also checked out various games that features avatars or virtual pets such as the Sims series or Pocket God.
The team was especially intrigued by Foursquare, the location-based social networking application that has been gaining popularity recently.

Many websites feature visualization of the Twitter universe, and we were able to find a good number of inspirational ones among them. These visualization works influenced the team’s design on how to represent the relation between the user and his or her friends effectively in multiple ways.

Here is the list of website links that feature Twitter visualization :

- Ways to Visualize the Twitter Universe

Click this link to download a .pdf of the Aura Project Research.

Entertainment Technology Center @ Carnegie Mellon University

Questions or Feedback?
Contact Mark Piszczor

Carnegie Mellon University