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Capturing Reality with the Leica BLK360

Are you looking to capture a 360 image with a full dome scan? Look no further than the Leica BLK360! It’s a revolutionary imaging laser scanner that captures things with such high quality that it feels like you’re right there! The BLK360 brings you into the moment with a high accuracy point cloud that sends out 360,000 laser scan setpoints every second, making full-color panoramic images for whatever property you’re showing off. It also comes with thermal imaging, HDR compatibility, and praiseworthy connectivity to an app on your mobile device. With the innovation and quality of the Leica BLK360, reality capture has never been easier.

What is the Leica BLK360 laser scanner?

This small, lightweight scanner is a 3D scanner that brings lifelike settings into a virtual image. Using highly detailed laser scanning, the BLK360 imports tons of scan data into its system and translates that into a spherical image. Think of each laser like a miniature ray of light (which it is, in a way). These lasers reflect off the surfaces of whatever you’re capturing and then bounce back to the BLK360, taking new data with them. Each laser translates into one point in the 3D scanning process, and that laser scan data adds up the longer the BLK360 takes the image. After two or three minutes for standard resolution scans, the machine has finished its imaging. You’re now ready to work with the image.

And that’s where the real magic of the BLK360 comes in. The reality capture process has been around for years, and the abstract knowledge of how to use one is familiar to people. But how many people can honestly say they know how to operate a 3D reality capture device? Not many.

What kind of software does it use?

The BLK360 breaks out of the stereotype of difficult, non-ergonomic scanning devices. The device is very simple to use because of its app compatibility. Once it finishes collecting the data, it uploads the image and point cloud data to whichever app you’ve previously downloaded.

The first app is the Leica Cyclone REGISTER 360, which is excellent for cloud sync on the go. The other app you might consider is the Cyclone FIELD, which is a free version that offers many of the same advantages. There are other apps, but these two are the primary apps recommended for BLK360 users. The apps’ ease of access means that anyone with an iOS-compatible device can produce quick, accurate 3D imagery (including thermal imaging and HDR capabilities). Even non-surveying individuals can appreciate the ease with which the scanner unpacks from its case, scans in less than 3 minutes, uploads to the cloud, and is ready for the next image. It takes less than half an hour to photograph an entire house in incredible detail, with barely any time required to learn how to use the device!

Why should you use the BLK360?

There are two major advantages to the BLK360:

First, it’s easy to learn. It’s hard to overstate how well it works with newcomers and experienced surveyors alike. Because of its quick and comfortable app compatibility, you won’t need to learn how to become a photographer just to use it. Anyone can tell you that one of the hardest parts of taking pictures is understanding the complex technology required in modern photography. The BLK360 unpacks this mystery and breaks it down for immediate, convenient use right on your phone. From there, it’s easy to upload it to tons of other places, including other AR applications or your desktop computer.

Second, its quality is amazing. The ability to capture high-resolution images in a well-contained 3D environment is priceless for marketers. The worst part about buying a house is that you don’t know what it will look like. You spend dozens of hours going to several locations just to see the inside, right? Not with 3D imaging! The BLK360 allows realtors to bring the house to the buyer. Instead of describing the venue, show it to the interested people. The apps that work with the device come with the option to publish data to the cloud, so you can share it with tons of different projects and software systems.

That includes housing sites trying to bring their advertisements to the next level. When 3D images are available for the property, you can visit someone else’s living room without leaving your own living room! It’s exceptionally useful in an age where everything is going digital and remote. 

What accessories come with it?

While the Leica BLK360 scanner is great by itself, it’s important to note that some accessories can help improve its functionality. Extra equipment can be expensive, though, so carefully research what you’ll need before committing to a purchase.

Keep in mind that although the device will be ready to use right out of the box, it may not have all the features you desire. For one thing, you’ll still have to download the desired app. For another, it doesn’t come with a tripod or the “tripod adapter.” These can add up to $450 by themselves—not the most expensive equipment, but something to be aware of. There’s also the “mission bag” for carrying the BLK360’s stuff around conveniently, as well as a “mission kit” package. The mission kit comes bundled with a tripod, tripod adapter, and mission bag, as well as two spare lithium-ion batteries and a battery charger. It runs up to $1271, but that could be worth the price. For everything it offers, including spare batteries and chargers, your BLK360 can keep running for a long time.

If you’re looking for other add-ons, you might consider similar products that handle the same functions. Leica also makes the BLK2GO Handheld Imaging Laser Scanner, which is great for scanning in tight spaces and around corners. It also does not require a tripod, which saves a lot of trouble. There is no stated price for this one, but it seems like a great accessory to supplement whatever 3D imaging technology you’re using. The BLK2GO offers a lot in a tiny package without compromising too much on integrity. And like its larger cousin, the BLK2GO is also compatible with the Cyclone REGISTER 360 and Cyclone REGISTER 360 (BLK Edition) apps. If you’ve already got one device or the other, it’d be easy to add another one onto the app’s system.

What is it compatible with?

Here’s what the device comes with, according to the website’s product page:

    • The Leica BLK360 imaging laser scanner.
    • A battery, charger, and local adapters.
    • Transport shell (a small hood that holds the BLK360, held by a bar handle. It looks kind of like a high-tech lantern).
    • A 1-year subscription for the subscription-only app Leica Cyclone REGISTER 360 (BLK Edition).

That package adds up to $18,900, although some pages say the price could range as high as $27,720. Unfortunately, recording equipment is prone to scarcity, which means sometimes it’s hard to find the exact thing you’re looking for at its original retail price. If you can’t find the Leica 360BLK, it might be worth looking into its parent company, Geosystems. When something comes out of stock, it might mean that the company is coming out with something more advanced, and they’re phasing out the old hardware. If there’s a newer version of the BLK, it could be worth checking out.

If you’re interested in showcasing your properties and creating a 3D reality for potential buyers to view easily, we suggest investing in a Leica BLK360. While we’ve mentioned the ease of compatibility with various software, Matterport has a seamless process for using this laser scanner and offers users many resources to create the perfect 3D point cloud.