[Athen] Remote Real-Time Captioning and Bluetooth Microphones for iPad

Sean Keegan skeegan at stanford.edu
Wed Aug 20 18:59:19 PDT 2014

Maybe it's me, but I am always a bit leery of Bluetooth devices and their reliability/stability with iOS. I agree completely that it very well may depend on the Bluetooth device, but I seem to get ones that drop out the connection at various times. It's one thing if you are on the phone and that can be annoying, but a classroom situation would make that failure far less tolerable.

Class 3 Bluetooth radios are limited to a range between 1-3 feet. Class 2 Bluetooth radios can go up to 30 feet (or so). Class 1 Bluetooth radios are also known as long-range Bluetooth devices and can go up to 100 feet (or so). That said, if there is any type of interference, this range can decrease. I believe USB 3.0 devices in close proximity to a Bluetooth device can have a negative impact on data throughput due to electrical noise. Usually, this means moving the Bluetooth or USB device around to evaluate the signal strength.

One option may be to try the Sony ECM-AW3 Wireless Microphone (Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002DUCRXS/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1535523722&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00F9ECDRU&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1P5450QWJJX1X1HQZQ3A)

It is Bluetooth between the units and then you would need to run a line from the receiving unit into the iOS device. This could be a male-to-male 3.5mm jack. It's not Bluetooth between the mic and the iOS device directly, so that is a limitation.

If you want to go pure Bluetooth, then a Sony SBH52 Headset may be an option (Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/SBH52-BLACK-BT-HEADSET-SPEAKER/dp/B00EI4FMHA). It seems like it would fit the solution you are looking for, but I have not tried it myself. In the reviews, it looks like some have tried using this with iOS and Android devices with good success.

One solution we looked at was to use an FM transmitter and receiver. The instructor got the FM transmitter and the student then used the receiver that had a line out option (for a headset). We used this line out and connected that to a laptop's mic in with a male-to-male cable. That way, the instructor just had to use the FM transmitter and the student plugged the FM receiver into the audio in using the male-to-male connector. There was a remote transcriptionist on the other end listening and he reported very good clarity. Once again, not fully wireless, but it kept the parts to a minimum and the instructor just had the FM transmitter to wear (which also solved the issue if any other students needed an FM audio solution).

Good luck - I am curious to find out what ends up working for you.

Take care,

On Aug 20, 2014, at 1:29 PM, "Cassandra L. Tex" <Cassandra.Tex at humboldt.edu> wrote:

> Greetings All,

> Has anyone used iPads for remote real-time captioning? What type of microphone (presumably Bluetooth) did you use? Was it a lapel mic or did the professor actually have to put it on his/her head? I wouldn’t think the built-in microphone on an iPad would be sufficient in a classroom setting…


> In the past we have used laptops with Revolabs wireless lapel microphones for remote real-time captioning. The vendor we contract with for the real-time captioning uses Skype and we’ve never had a problem with sound quality with our setup (wireless network, laptop with Skype, and revolabs lapel mic). However, we’re looking for a more compact way to provide real-time captioning (and perhaps even using the student’s own device if available). Hauling a laptop around can be cumbersome…


> Would love suggestions on Bluetooth microphones that could work. What is the range of a Bluetooth microphone? How far can the person with the microphone be from the device it’s paired with? It probably depends on the device, but in general, how far apart can the devices be?


> Having a CART transcriber in the room is not an option. We are in a rural area and don’t have folks in the area with this skill.


> Thanks!

> Cassandra Tex

> Assistive Technology Specialist

> Humboldt State University

> tex at humboldt.edu




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