One of 2017’s most talked about departures has led to one of the most exciting appointments of the year. Hugo Barra, who recently left Chinese mobile manufacturing firm Xiaomi, has now joined Facebook to spearhead the company’s VR wing.

Barra is one of the most celebrated executives of recent times and has held key roles in the development of some of the most cutting edge technologies. From working at Google to help develop the Android operating system, to spending over 3 years at Xiaomi, helping the company grow from a minor smartphone maker to a global player — Hugo Barra is a serious asset for any company he works in.

He recently announced his departure from Xiaomi, after having spent 3 years and more at the firm. There was a lot of buzz regarding his next destination and it is now confirmed that he will be joining Facebook and leading the company’s VR team — including Oculus.

Announcing the news, Mark Zuckerberg said:

Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. They’ll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before. Hugo is going to help build that future, and I’m looking forward to having him on our team.

Barra’s role is certainly going to be very important. It is a generally held belief that VR is going to be the next big thing in computing and almost all major tech companies — Facebook included — are working hard to make sure that they don’t lag in the race.

Indeed, Facebook is one of the earliest starters and thanks to its acquisition of Oculus, is a leading companies in the VR sphere. It will be interesting to see how Hugo, who helped Xiaomi bring its MI VR headset to the public, leverages Facebook’s resources and already well-entrenched technologies. It is a huge responsibility, but Barra seems well up to the task.

It’s been a dream of mine to work in virtual reality even back when AR/VR were just figments of science fiction; now we’re taking selfies in virtual worlds 🙂 I learned from Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun that there’s no greater calling in our industry than taking breakthrough tech and making it available to the greatest number of people.

Meanwhile, Barra will be filling the position left blank when Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe left his position to focus his full attention upon VR for personal computers.

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