Have you ever bought an item of clothing online that didn’t fit you? Notre Dame graduates John Rocha and Rick Tillilie definitely have, and now they’re doing something about it. Rocha and Tillilie created myFit, a program that uses Microsoft Kinect technology, a device mostly used for video game systems, to scan a person’s three-dimensional image into his or her computer and input it into a virtual fitting room. Rocha said his company’s idea could have a big impact on online retail sales. “Only 10 percent of clothing is sold online, and the reason is consumers lack confidence as to how clothes fit,” Rocha said. “It’s a huge problem for apparel companies in the United States.” Through myFit, online customers can test clothing on an avatar of themselves, and areas of the item are color-coded to indicate whether it is too loose, too tight or just right at those spots, Rocha said. “First we’re creating body scanners for retail stores, and eventually we’re releasing an at-home version, as well,” he said. “Eventually you’ll be able to create a virtual avatar of yourself with your likeness that contains all of your key measurements to help you make informed buying decisions while shopping online.” Rocha said he and Tillilie came up with the idea for myFit while they were co-presidents of the Entrepreneurship Society at Notre Dame. “My junior year, I had family that worked at Gilt.com … the popular flash-sale site. They had really good deals, and on a college budget, it was the perfect way to do any kind of shopping for clothing that I needed,” Rocha said. “But shopping for jeans was a huge pain because the jeans I was buying would not fit me at all like I envisioned them … It was a situation where there had to be a better way.” Rocha said he and Tillilie presented the problem to members of the Entrepreneurship Society and developed the idea for myFit. They also met with computer science majors and engineers to figure out the technical aspects, Rocha said. Rocha said he, then a political science major, and Tillilie, then a finance major, signed up for the McClosky Business Plan Competition sponsored by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship and placed second. Rocha said the two won between $45,000 and $50,000 and a spot at the Plug and Play startup accelerator in Silicon Valley. “It’s a 10-week program where we get an office space, access to mentors and whatnot, and they just try to help us launch our start-up,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to move to Silicon Valley, where we are right now, and to take advantage of the entrepreneurship contacts out here to allow us to move forward.” Rocha and Tillilie will present myFit to possible investors at the Plug and Play Start-up EXPO on September 13th. “Right now all of our time is devoted to the presentation that we give. All the start-ups that are featured there are allotted five minutes or so to pitch in front of 600 investors and tech entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley area,” Rocha said. “From there, there’s a big trade show … with different booths where you can try technology … It should be our coming out party.” Tillilie said launching a startup post-graduation was an attractive career option for him. “Startups are sort of en vogue right now,” Tillilie said. “It’s pretty low risk coming right out of college because you have a degree and traditional paths to fall back on.” Rocha said Notre Dame students are especially qualified to launch their own startups. “The Notre Dame education makes you really well-rounded, really outgoing, which really helps you do well for this,” Rocha said. “Every day is different when you’re doing a startup, so it takes a really well-rounded person and Notre Dame really prepares you for that.” Tillilie said the Notre Dame network has been helpful in getting myFit off the ground. “There’s a huge amount of mentors and advisors out there that are all part of the Notre Dame alumni that are more than willing to help us out, from little things like advice to even funding opportunities and partnerships with major companies,” Tillilie said. “It’s a huge network that I think is really the best out there.”
This summer I realized there’s something out there in the world I hate more than cauliflower and rush hour traffic-poison ivy. The leaves of three just won’t let me be. Despite never having a reaction in the past, this year I’ve had four outbreaks of blistering rashes, including one on my face. I used to frolic through the woods with carefree grace, but now my trail runs are filled with tip-toeing and wearing knee-high socks. I’ve been so plagued that Calamine is calling me with stock options. Am I just on a run of bad luck, or is poison ivy growth on the rise?Unfortunately, the latter is true, and poison ivy growth is only going to get worse as we keep polluting the atmosphere with cars and coal-burning smokestacks. Rising amounts of carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas that is considered one of the leading causes of global warming have been proven to dramatically increase the growth of the allergenic plant and help it spread its itchy wrath.Last year Duke University completed a six-year study that found elevated levels of carbon dioxide increased the growth of poison ivy. Scientists used pipes to pump carbon dioxide into an experimental forest near Chapel Hill, N.C. At carbon dioxide levels expected by the year 2050, poison ivy in the forest grew at a 70 percent higher annual rate than it does today.The study also showed that high-carbon dioxide plants produce a more potent form of urushiol-the oil agent that causes an allergic skin reaction in 80 percent of people that come in contact with the pesky plant. Urushiol is the plant’s defense mechanism against irritants in the atmosphere.“Elevated carbon dioxide levels promote the growth of poison ivy,” says Dr.William Schlesinger, a retired Duke professor who helped lead the study. “The changes that human beings are making in the world’s atmosphere are having some real human health consequences. We need to make a change globally, so we don’t see more cases of extreme dermatitis and emergency room visits.”Poison ivy is widespread and can grow in many forms: as a vine, ground cover, or upright. It changes colors by season, but it is always able to release urushiol. Widespread in the Southeast, it is one of the most problematic plants in the country-annually causing 350,000 reported cases of some kind of dermatitis.In the Blue Ridge, it can be often confused with the nonpoisonous Virginia creeper, which has leaves with a similar tear-drop shape but usually has five leaves on a stem.One common myth is that you can spread the rash to others or other parts of your body once it has surfaced on the skin. It’s only the urushiol oil that can spread and cause more irritation, but it can stick to shoes, pets, and garden tools. Poison ivy is also receptive to light, so areas that have been logged or thinned are likely to see more poison ivy growth.
Christopher L. “Fish” Garnett, age 48 of Osgood, died Monday, August 20, 2018 at Margaret Mary Health in Batesville. Born December 17, 1969 in Batesville, he is the son of Judy (Nee: Back) and Rob Garnett. He was a forklift operator at Honda for OSL.Chris was an avid fisherman which earned him the name catfish, which eventually became “fish”. He was also longtime league bowler, a UK and Bengals fan and enjoyed all types of music. His family indicated he was very much a people person who could strike up a conversation with anyone.He is survived by his wife Loretta: daughter Shelby Garnett, son Ben Garnett, all of Osgood; father Rob Garnett of Osgood and brother Brian Garnett of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. He is preceded in death by his mother Judy Garnett and sister Charlene Webster.Visitation is Monday, August 27th, from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Weigel Funeral Home. Funeral services are 10 a.m. Tuesday, August 28th at the funeral home with Rev. Randy Thieman officiating. Burial will follow in St. John Huntersville Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the funeral home to help with expenses.