Microsoft Research was founded way back in 1991 as a way of turning cutting edge concepts into products. Over the years, the division has been behind some of the most exciting ideas that have come out of Redmond, from fluffy mice to HIV / AIDS research. The department is celebrating its 20th anniversary by highlighting some of its favorite projects over the next four weeks, so we're beating it to the punch with some of picks. Check out our list below.

08.11.11 - Microsoft Surface-controlled robots to boldly go where rescuers have gone before
05.14.11 - Microsoft Research-backed e-reader prototype can't keep its text to itself
05.11.11 - Microsoft motion controller concept kicks sand in Kinect's puny face
03.28.11 - Microsoft's SpecNet promises to seek out unused wireless spectrum
02.25.11 - Microsoft Research shows off next-generation gesture interfaces, Kinect integration, other neato stuff
02.25.11 - Microsoft Research teases Windows Phones controlling Surfaces and crazy desktop UIs
11.09.10 - Microsoft aims to improve maps with GPS data from 33,000 Beijing cab drivers
10.04.10 - Microsoft LightSpace brings Surface (plus shadows) to any table
08.10.10 - Microsoft Research reveals RearType, puts QWERTY back where it belongs
08.04.10 - Microsoft's experimental English-Chinese dictionary mines the web for data
07.28.10 - Microsoft Street Slide: it's electric!
05.31.10 - Microsoft Research toys with the cosmos... using forefinger and thumb
11.06.09 - Microsoft messes with 'natural' user interface, featuring eye tracking, voice control and wild body gestures
10.07.09 - Microsoft's office of the future features interactive walls and Surface but, sadly, no Clippy
10.07.09 - Microsoft multitouch mouse prototypes in action
10.01.08 - Microsoft Research Codex project tries two screens on for size
07.23.08 - Microsoft Research thinks telescopic pixels will rival LCDs
05.23.08 - Microsoft's LaserTouch prototype brings hand control to any display
04.19.08 - Microsoft adds twist to handhelds with force-sensing technology
08.25.06 - Fluffy Soap mouse works without a desk