Marten den Uyl, the founder of SMR-group, was a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence. He was interested in computers early on, but because at that time no degree in artificial intelligence existed yet, he studied cognitive psychology. From 1978 till 1987 he worked in various areas of psychological research at University of Amsterdam and Stanford University, including text understanding, psychophysics, judgment theory and connectionist modeling. He wanted to understand how the brain could make complex computations, to create computers that could achieve similar intelligence. He was especially interested in one of the most complex human characteristics: emotions. After his studies, he started a doctorate training on resonant field computing (an early machine learning paradigm) in the 1980s under the guidance of renowned emotion researcher Prof. Nico Frijda.
However, he did not want to be limited to academic research and wanted to bring his creative ideas into practice, subsequently, he started Sentient Machine Research. From this company, he continued to build four specialized companies all falling under the SMR-group with a focus on computer vision, data mining, and sentiment analysis. Parabots was founded in 2001 and helps fight online tax crime with its flagship product Xbots. In 2001 VicarVision was started; bringing the first automated facial expression analysis tool on the market in 2007. From 2003 onwards Sentient helps organizations make sense of their data with DataDetective. In 2014 the newest company Human Insight Services was added to focus on the distribution of the cloud platform FaceReader Online. Together these companies aim to create state of the art artificial intelligence solutions inspired by human cognition and emotion.