Back in the day i’d have to hold the phone up to my ear whenever I wanted to use GPS or anything with the screenreader, and if a bus went by, it was a complete fail. then in early 2013 my friend Hai Nguyen Ly gave me a pair of the Aftershokz 1st generation bone conducting headphones and my workflow in public was changed forever. I could use my iPhone anywhere and besides being able to hear it in any situation quiet or loud it didn’t bother anyone around me either.
The problems above were very similar with talking watches which is why until the Apple watch I had always preferred braille watches. I’ve found a lot of cool uses for my Apple watch but the problem of its audio coming out the speaker in public still remained.
Aftershokz came out with their Trekz Titanium model earlier this year, and among other things in their marketing speak was mentioned Bluetooth multipoint; that their new flagship model could pair with 2 Bluetooth devices. I was excited, if i could get the audio from both my iPhone and Apple watch into the same pair of bone conducting headphones that would be huge, but alas pairing with 2 devices did not mean simultaneously.
Over a year ago my friend @cajunluke
told me about the Belkin audio splitter Rockstar, and I’d also remembered Allison Sheridan and Dave Hamilton talking about the Amtech Bean Bluetooth receiver, but it could only receive, if there was a bluetooth transmitter? A plan began forming in my mind.
The Rockstar has been out for a while and using it to combine wired audio sources is widely understood, but I was trying to combine both Bluetooth and analog audio sources and also put them altogether, out to a Bluetooth headset.
I wondered how to combine 2 Bluetooth devices together when neither had a keyboard nor a display, but the Aftershokz and the Anker Bluetooth adaptor pair nicely as long as you remember to get them both into pair mode simultaneously it works most times.
One adaptor is set to receive and is paired to the watch. The other adaptor is set to transmit and is paired to the Aftershokz.
I wear cargo pants so the large pockets are great for a bunch of cables plugged altogether, the shorter the patch cords the better.
the system works very well, the more devices plugged into the Rockstar the lower the volume is because of resistance but so far there’s still enough volume to go around for me. Having the audio from my watch in the headset makes it much more productive for me in public even if no one was around to be annoyed by the watch speaker. When I used Apple pay VoiceOver lowers the volume for security, i could still hear it and much better through the headset.
I also do BrainPort testing for Wicab
and the Rockstar has 5 audio jacks so I can plugged that in also which greatly improves how I hear it especially in loud environments.
I’m surprised that seemingly few know about the Rockstar, but also haven’t heard of anyone combining it with Bluetooth adaptors. I know it will be part of my workflow for some time.