Toyota Motor Corporation, in collaboration with Denso Corporation (Denso) and Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc. (Toyota CRDL), has developed a silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor for use in automotive power control units (PCUs). Toyota will begin test driving vehicles fitted with the new PCUs on public roads in Japan within a year.
Alive Shoes has lofty ambitions to radically re-invent the shoemaking process. The site essentially builds upon a conversation that social media has begun: giving everybody a chance to create and promote their own brand.
Unlike branded product customisation options like Nike ID, or customised one-off pieces like those offered by Milk & Honey, Alive Shoes’s USP lies in its ability to make anyone a designer and entrepreneur. Users can register to design a product, create a webshop, and start selling within minutes.
The company does all the backend work, like managing production, logistics and customer care, enabling consumers to focus solely on creativity. The website currently offers 50 front-end templates, a number set to expand to 500, and will eventually allow consumers to upload their own sketches for true creative freedom.
Products are manufactured in the famed region of Le Marche in Italy, where the crème de la crème of ‘Made in Italy’ footwear is produced (including the likes of Prada and Tod’s). By bypassing the middlemen and selling directly to consumers, Alive Shoes is able to offer highly competitive prices (between €99-199 including shipping) without scrimping on quality.
Shoes are made to order, put into production once a minimum of seven pairs are sold, and delivered to customers in less than four weeks. The company quotes an average return rate of 3 percent on the 1,000 shoes they have already shipped, impressive compared to 25-30 percent for the online shoe business.