Brett Halle: Envision has clearly taken more input from blind people.
For this User's Spotlight we got the chance to discuss with strong-willed Brett, a software engineer located in San Francisco. He has worked for Apple as a senior director of engineering for 21 years. His wife teaches technology and mathematics in middle school, and the two of them have two sons together; a 30-year-old doctor and a 24-year-old engineer. About 3.5 years ago, Brett lost his vision because of his retina detaching from his eyeball. Although the issue was repairable, the healing process caused retinal disruption, leading Brett into becoming totally blind. Brett’s approach in life, underlines the importance of one’s state of mind and willingness to achieve their goals. Read further Brett’s story in his own words.
What does your typical day look like?
Around a year ago I got a guide dog. Lyft, Uber and other local services are what I use for transportation. Through Lighthouse, for the visually impaired and the blind, I met new people that are blind as well. We have a camp where we can try new tools and learn new things.
What is the biggest hurdle that limits you?
Nothing stops me from doing things, it just takes more time. I have to learn new ways to do things and to be more patient. Only having the will to learn, really matters.
In which instances do you use Envision in your daily life?
Envision is one of the assistive tools I use most frequently. With the app I read displays or any text. One time I received a handwritten birthday card and it was possible to read it only with Envision. I use the app to scan barcodes, read packagings or recipes as well.
How did you do these tasks before using Envision?
I had to rely on other people which is frustrating. I’d call a friend, try to get someone on Facetime or request someone nearby.
How has Envision impacted your life?
I am independent in a lot of daily tasks, like reading whatever I want. A lot of things don’t have a voice response and Envision helps with that.
What do you like most about Envision?
I can use it myself and it works offline.
What is the one thing that you wish sighted people understood about living with visual impairment?
Just because you have a disability, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. People react adversely when they see someone blind. People insist on helping, which is annoying. They assume you’re incapable of doing something. We want to be independent and self-sufficient. I also want people to be patient while we do things by ourselves.
What is a life hack you swear by?
Meditation. It helps to ground oneself and not get too obsessed with something. Learning how to be patient and trying to keep things in the right perspective. It’s a state of mind, because attitude matters a lot.
We are thankful to Brett for this inspiring interview, which reminds us the importance of putting things into the right perspective. We wish the best to Brett and his family.