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Hugo Barra Is Leaving Facebook to Enter Healthcare Tech Space Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Hugo Barra, Vice President of VR at Facebook, on Tuesday announced that he is leaving the company after over four years. Barra, 44, joined Facebook in 2017 to lead its Oculus VR team. Prior to his tenure at Facebook, the Brazilian technology executive worked as the Vice President of Xiaomi. Barra announced his departure from Facebook through a post on the social network. He said that he was planning to venture into the healthcare technology space to help people amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today is my last day at Facebook Reality Labs, after 4 years working on projects that have been more exciting and more challenging than anything I’ve encountered in my career, with some of the brightest minds and kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet,” Barra wrote in his Facebook post.

In 2017, Barra left Xiaomi to join Facebook. He was initially hired to lead the Oculus VR team. However, in May 2019, the executive took the role of building a global AR/ VR partner ecosystem based in New York City.

Barra provided some details about his next venture and said that he was trying to enter the healthcare technology space.

“I believe society is still poorly equipped with the tools people need to really understand our health and gain control over our health outcomes,” he said. “Inspired by this reflection and after working in tech for over 20 years, I’ve decided to try something completely different — to dive into the deep unknown (for me) and explore the healthcare technology space. I hope to be able to apply what I’ve learned from working in the consumer tech industry to help solve meaningful problems in the healthcare world.”

Interestingly, Barra announced his moving-on from Facebook in the midst of Facebook developing smart glasses in collaboration with Ray-Ban.

“Looking back at what we accomplished together with Oculus GoQuest, and Quest 2, I’m truly beyond proud,” he said. “And I’m equally excited about what’s yet to come, starting this year with the launch of Facebook’s smart glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban, which will begin connecting the dots from today’s VR headsets to tomorrow’s AR glasses.”

Barra gained popularity for heading the Android division at Google in its emerging stage before joining Xiaomi in August 2013. He worked with the search giant for six years between 2008 and 2013, and held roles including the Vice President and Product spokesperson for Android.

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