Daily briefing: Publicis acquires Sapient; News from Abine and Rethink Robotics

Rethink Robotics' Baxter robot (courtesy of company)
Rethink Robotics' Baxter robot (courtesy of company)

The big news from this morning is the word that Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest advertising and marketing firms, has acquired Boston-based Sapient for $3.7 billion. While there are a few other implications with this deal, it’s huge no matter how you look at it. You can read the full press release from both companies here.

-News from the world of Boston robotics as well today, as Rethink Robotics has released a major update for Baxter, its safe manufacturing and task performing robot.

With its new “Robot Positioning System,” Baxter can now recognize when its environment changes and adjust its movements accordingly, by being able to recognize its “landmarks” than before and moving between tasks without reprogramming in its defined environment.

“Manufacturing robots have always been caged, not only to protect the workers around them from harm, but also to protect their precisely configured environments from being disrupted by those same workers,” Scott Eckert Rethink Robotics chief executive said in a statement. “Now, we’ve made it safe for the robot to work effectively in real-world conditions as well, by allowing it to adapt to everyday variations that people naturally produce.”

– Boston online privacy company Abine released a new product of its own today. The company’s new Blur tool lets consumers protect payments, passwords, and personal info online. More importantly, as part of the release, Blur allows users to block companies and websites from tracking and collecting personal data online and through mobile devices.

Blur, a free “all-in-one” service, will allow users to “mask” payments and personal info, protect passwords, and block all unwanted tracking. The new product should have widespread appeal, as consumers are becoming more wary of how safe their bank and private information is, particularly given recent data breaches at Home Depot, Target, and others. (Especially as consumer activity picks up online and in stores during the holiday season shopping period.)

“Blur users surf worry-free,” commented Abine chief executive Rob Shavell in a statement, “because it’s virtually impossible for their passwords, credit cards, and other private personal information to wind up in the wrong hands.”

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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