Boston Tech Watch: Neurala A.I., GE, MaxQ, Threat Stack, Bluefyre

Acquisitions, partnerships, and an FDA approval mark this week’s roundup in Boston technology news. Read on for more:

—Boston University is adding artificial intelligence education to its electrical and computer engineering courses through a partnership with Boston A.I. company Neurala, to bridge a growing “skills gap” in the technology. Neurala is providing its A.I. education platform Brain Builder to BU (as well as the Chinese Software Developer Network). Neurala says the software makes it easier for developers and organizations to build A.I. applications.

—General Electric sold its commercial and industrial energy efficiency business Current to a New York private equity firm focused on industrial businesses. Terms of the deal between GE and American Industrial Partners were not disclosed, but the agreement lets Current continue to operate under the GE brand. The company, which has 2,500 global employees with 50 in Boston, sells LED and other lighting equipment, as well as sensors and electricity control systems. The deal is expected to close in early 2019 and is subject to regulatory approvals.

Current’s sale is the latest in an effort to slim down GE’s unwieldy size—and is one of the largest transactions under its new CEO Larry Culp, who took over the industrial conglomerate Oct. 1.

—StopLift Checkout Vision Systems, the maker of retail anti-theft technology in Cambridge, MA, was acquired by Atlanta-based NCR Corporation. The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal. StopLift’s technology uses surveillance video and information from point-of-sale systems to flag potential cases of shoplifting by detecting cases of shoppers not scanning products at self-checkout aisles. To date it has found 3.1 million such cases, StopLift says. To NCR, the addition will help secure its 250,000 self-checkout systems worldwide.

—An artificial intelligence medical testing company received federal approval for software to quickly detect brain bleeds using CT scans. MaxQ AI, based in Andover, MA, and Tel Aviv, Israel, received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clinical use. European regulators approved the software earlier this year. MaxQ says its partnerships with GE Healthcare, Samsung Neurologica, and other organizations will help to get its system into hospitals quickly. MaxQ estimates if the imaging system diverts one patient from acute stroke to wellness at each of the 13,000 U.S. and E.U. hospitals, it would save $2 billion a year. Facebook and the radiology department at New York University’s School of Medicine are currently working together on A.I. tools to speed up MRI imaging.

—Cloud cybersecurity firm Threat Stack acquired application security company Bluefyre. Terms of the deal were not released. Boston-based Threat Stack says Bluefyre executives and employees will be based in Boston and the company’s capabilities will be added to Threat Stack’s platforms by early next year. Two weeks ago, Threat Stack laid off 17 employees but pledged its headcount would be unchanged once open positions are filled.

Brian Dowling is a Senior Editor at Xconomy, based in Boston. You can reach him at bdowling [at] xconomy.com. Follow @be_d

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