Startups and big companies around the world are building some pretty amazing applications on the Kinect – especially with the launch of Kinect for Windows.

Recently, Microsoft’s chief strategy officer, Craig Mundie, held Tech Forum, a gathering for tech journalists who want to see up-and-coming Microsoft technologies and how they are being used.

Dylan Tweney, Editor of VentureBeat wrote an in-depth article “You will soon be using a Kinect, even if you don’t have an Xbox” with multiple examples of great applications of the Kinect we thought you would want to see:

Kinect sensors weren’t the day’s primary theme, but it was fascinating to see how many contexts in which the flat, three-eyed black bar kept popping up.

  • Kinect sensors are built into the gestural controls in the futuristic demonstration home on Microsoft’s campus. In the living room and entertainment room, large-screen TVs use Xbox-like gestural and voice-command interfaces to let you select music and videos as well as control your home environment.
  • Whole Foods, together with development house Chaotic Minds, showed off a robotic shopping cart that uses a Kinect sensor (mounted above the cart’s handlebars) to sense where you are so it can roll along the aisles following you. The Kinect could also be used to identify items you place in the cart, although for the demo we saw, the system used RFID instead.
  • Nissan is planning a Kinect-powered interactive app to show off its new 2013 Pathfinder at the upcoming New York Auto Show, and maybe in dealer showrooms after that. Development company Identity Mind is building the app, which lets you view the Pathfinder from different angles by moving your body; a Kinect sensor identifies where your body is and adjusts the view accordingly.

You can see many more applications, plus great pictures and videos on VentureBeat.