Thursday, April 14, 2016

How can I access an USB external drive in my Mac's terminal?

While writing some bash scripts, I ran into this question. Although I was familiar with accessing the contents on external drives I connect to my Macbook Pro with OSX, I never needed to access them from a terminal shell.

The USB pen drive I want to access via terminal

It took me a few minutes to find out how to do it. The complete solution took two steps, although I just needed the second one:

  1. execute the command df -h to find out where every volume is mounted;
  2. change to the proper directory in /Volumes, were all drives (internal, external and networked) get mounted.
Simple, uhh?

Friday, December 05, 2014

Virtual Reality for Lighting Simulation in Events

We propose an immersive light design and pre-visualization interface, aiming to increase the preview realism and suit people with no experience in stage design. Our prototype, VRLight, couples a head-mounted display (Oculus Rift) and a gesture-based interface (PNI Sensor) for visualization and real-time interactive light simulation. The design and control tasks are split in order to increase creativity and focus on both sides. In the immersive environment, the director performs the design and pre-visualization routines, and complex control is externally carried out by the technician, using any light console of his preference.

This project was developed within the MSc thesis work of João Cintra Torres Reis Araújo at IST/University of Lisbon.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How to turn off an Apple wireless keyboard

Do you own an Apple wireless keyboard and want to turn it off, but aren't sure how to do it? It's simple: just press the power button on the right side and hold it for a few seconds until the green light goes out. The keyboard is then turned off.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Tiago and the Oculus Rift VR headset

My son is visiting our lab today. He had lot's of fun trying our prototypes. Here he is wearing the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.  

Monday, October 07, 2013

CmIS workshop was a success!

I organized, together with Pedro Campos (Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Portugal) and Andrés Lucero (Nokia Research Center, Finland), the Collaboration meets Interactive Surfaces (CmIS) workshop. CmIS was co-located  with the Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS 2013) conference, and was held on October 6 in St. Andrews (UK). It was a success. The workshop involved 27 participants and encompassed 15 individual presentations of latest research work and 5 discussion groups focusing hot topics in the field.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Collaboration meets Interactive Surfaces Workshop

Together with Andres Lucero (Nokia Research,Tampere) and Pedro Campos (M-ITI, Madeira University), I am organising the "Collaboration meets Interactive Surfaces" Workshop. This is a co-located event with the "Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces" conference (ITS 2013), which  aims on exchanging experiences regarding collaborative user interface design techniques that were designed for, or adapted to people involved in all kinds of collaborative activities.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Professor Karan Singh is visiting us at IST/TU Lisbon

Karan Singh, Professor in Computer Science at University of Toronto and a leading scientist in the field of sketch-based modelling, is visiting our lab. This picture was taken while he was experimenting our mid-air interaction "Alberti Digital" prototype.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Keyboard shortcuts to add date and time in Excel

It seems simple, but I was doing it by typing the current date and time "by hand" in a Excel worksheet cells. It was not efficient. There should be a quicker way to do it! And there is. Through the use of keyboard shortcuts:

  • Enter the current date: CTRL+SHIFT+";"
  • Enter the current time: CTRL+SHIFT+":"

Friday, January 13, 2012


A couple of months ago my master student Daniel Mendes defended his thesis with honorable success (19/20). In his master work he developed an interactive tabletop LEGO modelling application (LTouchIt), which has been presented at the ACE 2011 conference. Below is a short video demonstrating the prototype.

For further details on this project, check the papers:
  • "Hands-on Interactive Tabletop LEGO Application"
    Daniel Mendes, Pedro Lopes, Alfredo Ferreira
    Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, November 2011
  • "Evaluation of 3D Object Manipulation on Multi-touch Surfaces Using Unconstrained Viewing Angles"
    Daniel Mendes and Alfredo Ferreira
    Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 6949, pp. 523-526, September 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

EG 3DOR 2012

The fifth Eurographics workshop on 3D Object Retrieval (EG3DOR'12) will be take place on May 13, 2012 in Caliari (Italy), as a co-event of the 33rd Annual Conference of the European Association for Computer Graphics (Eurographics 2012). I am program chair of this event, together with Alexander Bronstein from Tel-Aviv University. Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit original and unpublished research and practical applications in all areas of 3D Object Retrieval.

Friday, June 24, 2011

3DORuS web page published

I am the principal investigator of the 3DORuS: 3D Object Retrieval using Skecthes project, funded by Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT). This project focus on interfaces for 3D object retrieval and started in March 2010. After a few delays, we made now available online the 3DORuS project webpage. Feel free to visit it and give us some feedback.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Eurodoc 2011

I've just attended the Eurodoc 2011 conference at Vilnius, where I present the talk "PhD research dissemination on a connected work",focusing the advantages that can be taken from social media to disseminate research work.

Congratulations to the organizers for the superb event. Keep on the good work.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

LTouchIt at the WSCG 2011

We will present a full paper at the International Conferences in Central Europe on Computer Graphics, Visualization and Computer Vision (WSCG) about the preliminary work on a virtual LEGO modeler for multi-touch surfaces - LTouchIt. The LTouchIt project is a follow-up of the LSketchIt project, which focused on virtual LEGO modeling using calligraphic interfaces and 3D retrieval.

Using LTouchIt to create a LEGO model

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Matrix Calculation Online

I regularly need to perform matrix operations. Since I do not always have my calculator with me, and using Matlab for that is like killing a mosquito with a bazooka, I turned to an online tool that provides all matrix operations I need. The BlueBit Online Matrix Calculator is fast, easy to use and is available on a browser near you. I strongly recommend it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Make notes (and more...) on PDF's

I often need to review documents sent to me in PDF format. Since I own a Tablet-PC, not to take advantage of the calligraphic interface for that is not an option. For years I have used the Adobe Acrobat Professional v6.0 for that purpose. However, the version 6.0 was not clearly designed to be used with a pen and we have no license for newer versions (currently 9.0). Thus, I tried a few other tools and concluded that, in my opinion, the Grahl PDF Annotator is the best option to make notes on PDF documents.

Monday, November 22, 2010

T-b3DR online again

After a long down-time due to server problems, the Thesaurus-based 3D Object Retrieval (T-b3DR) webpage is again online. Among other stuff, you can find there some interisting utilities that were develepod during my PhD thesis (and after).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I am currently involved in the "João Lourenço Fernandes" (JLF) Lab at IST Taguspark. In this lab are develop research on immersive and virtual reality, multimodal and new interaction paradigms, amongs some other topics. In the picture below you can see me wearing the Natural Point tracking suit (hat included), holding the SqueezyBall 6-DOF wireless interaction device and the e-Magin HMD glasses.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

ACM MM 3DOR 2010

Last week I attended the International Workshop on 3D Object Retrieval, a co-event of ACM Multimedia 2010. This workshop brought together researchers from different fields, ranging from computer vision, computer graphics, machine learning and human-computer interaction, whose works relates to 3D object retrieval.

Although all work presented in this forum was relevant to my research, I was particularly interested in the paper "Local Visual Patch for 3D Shape Retrieval" by Mohamed Daoudi and the poster "A Benchmark for Best View Selection of 3D Objects" by Afzal Godil

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog posting resumed

"AFJ's PhD" blog was created in November 2004 to report on-line the status of my PhD work. After finishing his PhD in July 2009, the posting was suspended. However, after several requests, I decided to reactivate the blog. The renewed "AFJ's PhD and after" blog will provide information on my work as a researcher in INESC-ID and my activities as a Assistant Professor at IST/TULisbon.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


It was more than a month ago, but just now I had time to post here the announcement: my PhD thesis defense went very good. I finally got my PhD. It is done!