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Here in Redmond this morning, Microsoft Research is marking its 20th anniversary as the company’s basic research unit. In addition to looking back at its work over the years, the research unit showed a series of demos that provided a glimpse of the future direction of technology.

In the video above, researchers showed a project that combines a tablet PC with distributed computing in the cloud and, at the end, the Kinect motion sensor.

Another project shown by the company, called Omnitouch, uses a pico projector and a depth camera to let people interact with programs projected onto their skin or other surfaces. Shown at the event by Microsoft researcher Andy Wilson, it’s an advance over a past Microsoft project called “Skinput” in part because Omnitouch adapts dynamically to surfaces and can shift the projection when a user moves.

“Of course it’s very preliminary work, but it gives you kind of a hint of what we’re exploring,” Wilson said. (Microsoft asked attendees not to photograph or record that project because it’s the subject of an upcoming paper.)

Microsoft also talked about the Bing “Tiger” project that has improved the company’s search engine.

We’ll have more from the event later today.

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