Can Video Games Improve Code Enforcement?

Can Video Games Improve Code Enforcement?

This piece was originally published in the September 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Patrick Hughes, Senior Director, Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives, NEMA

At the video gaming world’s premier show, E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), 50,000 industry insiders flocked to see and try the latest games, consoles, and mixed reality platforms. More than 125 vendors showcased mixed reality systems (i.e., virtual reality and augmented reality), double the number from 2016.

The rapid improvement of this new type of gaming hardware has implications for non-gaming applications, such as building code enforcement. Augmented reality (where virtual images are superimposed on the real world) and virtual reality (where a user is fully immersed in a digital world) will both play a role in training new employees, troubleshooting malfunctioning systems, providing users with vast databases of information at a moment’s notice via a heads-up display, and much more.

For example, augmented reality technologies could be leveraged to enhance the productivity and performance of code officials who are sometimes required to enforce up to a dozen different building codes that are regularly updated. Giving code enforcers the latest information in a heads-up display would allow them to quickly reference specific elements of the latest codes to ensure a facility is in compliance.

Taking it one step further, certain technologies, such as the Structure Sensor / Occipital Bridge, can create a 3-D map of a room and the objects in it using an attachment for an iPhone. This technology could scan a room, identify the different elements, and flag potential code violations. For example, if the sensor detects an outlet near a sink, it could let the code enforcer know that the outlet should be a ground-fault circuit interrupter.

Thanks to the video game industry, which created the initial demand for virtual and augmented reality hardware, we can now begin to use these technologies in our own industry for a variety of new and exciting purposes.

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