Mike Burr - log

[comp] bluetooth agent gizmo

Bluetooth has always been a finicky, high-maintenance way of connecting stuff for me. It's a hard problem to fix partly because it's hard to define, quite. You know.

Things connect and disconnect unexpectedly. Sometimes when you "connect" your audio source (e.g. iphone), it will automatically switch the audio output to be your just-connected bluetooth headphones, which you sometimes expect to happen. Sometimes your device connects but does not switch output, which, again, sometimes you expect to happen.

When I take my earpods out, the audio pauses. Sometimes want, sometimes do not want. Not a bluetooth problem in and of itself, but other devices I have do not do that, which requires me to remember a special, albeit simple procedure to have it "do what I want..."

There's other issues. It's all pretty damn flaky.

What! If!

What if you had a little device that by default just acts as a trivial bluetooth proxy. You pair all of your 'buds and 'phones to this device. You then pair this same device to your audio sources. Some kind of pairing is unavoidable, and this is only done once, of course.

Assume you've unpaired every bluetooth everything beforehand. Or, maybe just assume you just bought and unboxed all the devices referenced. The point is...

| Pairing: all your headphonesgizmoall your audio sources

From the perspective of all your audio sources, you only have one set of headphones! So, you no longer have the problem of sources unexpectedly bouncing from output to output. You only have one set of headphones (wink).

Another problem that might be solved is choosing which set of headphones you currently use or intend to use. The device can have a UI via your smartphone and/or a simple touch screen display, so you have hotbuttons for whatever prefer.

You could set up "dead times"; e.g. between 9pm and 9am, the Bose headphones are assumed to be non-existent.

You could probably do things with proximity. If you move your gizmo nearer and farther from some bluetooth radio while in "calibration mode", you can have preferences like, "Switch to the Dynaudio device when gizmo comes within 20 feet of it."

Gizmo is, oh, say: About the size of a small smartphone, usually spends its day charging somewhere, but has an onboard battery, so when it's time to head out and drive somewhere, you do need to remember to slip Gizmo into your pocket and hopefully not let the battery die. That problem should be no big deal, because "iphone sized" leaves a lot of room for battery, given the simplicity of the device.


It'd be great if your, eherm, iPhone could just magically do all this with the inclusion of some app. Surely there's an off-the-shelf open-enough device (android?) that can do this, so if you're ok with another device and you are a sharp embedded engineer, it should be doable. Maybe.

I'm not aware if it's possible to have your iphone/android act as a "bluetooth speaker", which would be required. Maybe there's a hardware limitation?


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