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On the unofficial fantastic Teams updates #2 (Nanowrimo 2020)

If you haven’t noticed it yet, you’ve probably lived under a rock. And that wouldn’t be too bad actually. The whole world is currently experiencing lockdowns of different kinds or other distance rules to fight the terrible Covid-19 virus. Dear virus, if you are reading this, I do have quite an aversion. I’d like to say: don’t take it personal, but I can’t. You’re just trash. Go home, to the depts of virushell where you’d probably be tortured for an eternity with vaccines who make you feel as bad as many people do when they’ve got touched by you. 

Because of the measurements, physical contact has been reduced to almost zero and if not, it is at your own risk. People suffer from “skin hunger” and some start to develop fears of being touched. Babies and children only remember the touch of their parents and have no clue how their grandparents would hug them if they could. Therefore, our Fantastic Microsoft Teams team developed “Touchr”. In brief, it is a tool to send a virtual hug that can be experienced – for real! 

Touchr has access to a broad gamma of hugs from gentle and barely noticeable hugs to intimate and romantic hugs to strong hugs with a finishing and rather uncomfortable hart top on the back. As the giver, you’ll think about how you’ll give your hug and automatically Touchr will choose the closest version in the range and send it to the receiver. Anywhere you are you’ll be able to give a big hug to the people you love. No lockdown will bring you the desolate feeling of loneliness you felt in former lockdowns. 

To make use of this Teams update, a small tool is to be purchased, but don’t fear: we made it accessible for everyone. With this update we didn’t only add a physical experience, but also a social dimension to the use of the platform. We found that a huge group of our potential public is especially vulnerable. We managed to make Touchr available for everyone, not only in use, but also as an item that has to be obtained. To celebrate this extraordinary update, we’ve started a program for which you can inscribe to get your first Touchr for free. The foreseen lifespan of Touchr is 3 years, if used very frequently, and much longer for a less frequent use. 

As already mentioned, we especially focussed on the accessibility for people dependant on other electronics. Some of these can be breathing equipment, pacemakers, hearing aids, sensor devices to follow people’s parameters, … This equipment often got disturbed with the first version of Touchr. Now, with the use of frequencies and tiny electric pulses, we got to erase that problem! As you can read, this update really made work of helping those who need it the most. People who have certain health issues can be the first to suffer from loneliness and an absolute deprivation of intimate moments during lockdowns. Many institutions close for visitors, and consequently families and friends get separated for months, with only a bit of videocall time to keep contact. People who don’t live in an institution, but are more vulnerable also easily get isolated, as well as single people. 

How to get your free Touchr? Call the client service, they will connect you with Touchr office, or go to the Touchr site and fill in the form on the start page. We will ask some personal questions for our statistics, and your address to send you your very own Touchr. People who have less possibilities to make this demand should also be able to ask their social assistant or local community center to ask for it. This week, we are aiming to contact all possible local community centers around the world, even in more remote areas. We really tried to aim to reach the so often forgotten people with a disability (in and outside institutions), seniors and single people. 

This update is made possible by a collaboration with the hardware producer of gaming consoles and virtual reality, ViCOre. To be able to use and experience this new update, both parties, the giver and the receiver need to have the small device “Touchr “. You keep it in your pockets while using Teams and whenever one wants to give a hug, you push the button on the side of Touchr . This opens, what we like to call, “The Portal” – a link between the mind, sensory receivers and Teams. When you think about giving a hug, your chat partner will first receiver a tiny buzz on their Touchr . Then, they can choose to accept to open their side of The Portal. Now a highly personalised hug can be sent and received. 

Touchr sends small barely noticeable frequencies and soft electric pulses to the brain of the receiver, which are perceived in the mind as the hug. This experience is very pleasant and almost undistinguishable from a real-life hug. On top of that, if the case would be that the receiver has enough of the hug, he can stop it immediately by just thinking it should stop. Depending on the force of the thought the hug will end smoothly or suddenly. In the case of a strong thought, the provoked energy sends a direct signal to the Touchr which goes into shutdown for the security of the receiver. We understand abuse could be possible, that is why we installed this security barrier that cannot be bypassed without completely destroying Touchr. 

At this stage, Touchr software for Teams is still partly in development. Currently, a hug can be sent, but the giver cannot feel the experience of hugging someone. Only if the receiver returns the hug, the original giver can have the hug experience. The improvement on this aspect is planned for mid May 2021. 

Now a question that frequently occurs: if Touchr has access to our thoughts to control the device, are our minds still safe? A good question it is, indeed, we have pondered on it too. Don’t worry, just as we installed the security barrier which leads to the shutdown of the device, there is also a “firewall” ,as you can call it, for unwanted access to the mind. We value the thoughts and ideas of our users and want them to feel safe. That is why Touchr only has entry to those places in the mind that have been allowed by the user. See it as the “cookies” for the mind. When Touchr will be updated in the future, for other forms of manipulations, the user will always have to pass by a triple agreement that ensures they actually agreed to use Touchr for that specific manipulation. 

Before being able to use Touchr, it will have to activate in your Teams account. Go to the new November updatecenter and click on “allow Touchr”. You will receive a confirmation e-mail after which you’ll have to connect your electronic identity card that will match your signature to a signature that you’ll draw in the view of your camera. The camera will record your signature and match it to the one of your identity card. If it matches, Touchr will be activated until you decide to disconnect again. 

In the next paragraph, we will give you some insight in the range of hugs that Touchr is able to send and receive. First there is the warm hug, also known as the “bear hug”. This is a hug that provides comfort and gives a general feeling of safety. It doesn’t necessarily ask a reciprocal sending of the hug, as the receiver can just accept and enjoy the feeling without needing to send back a hug. This one holds close resemblance to the one-sided hug, but with the difference that the latter doesn’t accept the hug entirely and it takes time for the receiver to completely accept the hug. You could see it as a long entrance for the bear hug. We’ve noticed that this specimen is often used when people are extremely sad and are in the highest need of a hug, but don’t really know it yet. 

When having a videoconference with friends, with whom you have a good friendship, the tight hug may come in handy. This hug will measure all the possible energy the giver can send and transfer it all at once. Depending on the receiver, the same will be sent back. This can be held for a longer or shorter time and end smoothly, or with a pat on the back, which is also known as the buddy hug or the hug that signals the necessity to end without it becoming uncomfortable. 

For people having rather romantic videocalls and who want to exchange hugs in that genre, we provide the eye-to-eye hug. It has been remarked that often we look at a screen and therefore not into the camera. This problem is corrected and when you’re looking on the screen, it will be as if you look into the camera. When you send your hug, it will be possible to look each other eye to eye. Another hug from the romantic range is the pocket hug, with which the receiver will also have the pleasant feeling of a loved one’s hand in the trousers’ pocket. A variant is the hug with which the giver can think about gently caressing the back of the receiver. Of course, this can also be placed in the non-romantic section as this can be a very comforting gesture. The last purely romantic hug is the flirty hug with which not only the hug sensations in the mind are activated, but also the exciting parts that may – or may not- arouse the receiver. This is still in beta version. 

We should mention that we’re currently working on more updates to broaden towards more intimate actions. Our “sexy” division is developing a variety of acts that will change the dating game during lockdowns. 

More neutral hugs are the side hug, the quick hug, the polite hug (because it is a custom in your culture), and the clumsy hug. As you see, many options are available, but don’t worry, the use is quite simple. Just think about hugging and Touchr will choose the one that suits best your situation. 

You want a second Touchr, because your first free one broke? They are available in online shops right now and can be shipped worldwide. With enormous stocks in the U.S., Africa, Asia and Europe, we hope to reduce the shipping times to a maximum of 7 workdays. 

Stay tuned for next updates to bring the coffee corner to your online meetings. A big surprise is coming in a few days too! Something we’ve all been waiting for. Or not. 

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