6 DOF digitizers and Slicer

In the early days of 3D morphometrics, people used 3D digitizers like this (https://www.aniwaa.com/product/3d-scanners/microscribe-g2x/) to collect 3D coordinates of landmarks directly from museum specimens. While things have shifted to surface or volumetric scanning, there is still some niche use cases where a digitizer may come in handy, if particularly we can collect data directly in Slicer.

I thought this might make an interesting student project, does anyone have any pointers about where to start? Can we use something like this in Slicer, and record points as fiducials (https://www.3dsystems.com/haptics-devices/touch/specifications)?

Slicer can connect to such devices via OpenIGTLink.

We implemented OpenIGTLink interface to many position trackers, surface scanners, and imaging devices in Plus toolkit, but we did not encounter any applications that required mechanical 3D digitizers. As you said, 3D scanners are better solution for most use cases. The remaining few applications can be addressed by optical and electromagnetic trackers, which are less expensive and, more convenient to use, and similarly accurate.

I think the only remaining class of 3D digitizers that is still relevant today, is those that provide force feedback. These are used as haptic interface in robotics and simulation applications and since they are essentially small backdrivable robots, they are supported in robotics toolkits. For example, if you want to connect such a device to 3D Slicer then you can use CISST SAW toolkit, which supports Novint Falcon, Sensable Phantom, MicroScribe, and a number of other sensors and robots and can stream real-time position information via OpenIGTLink.