Science & Technology Current Affairs - 2019

Science & Technology Current Affairs 2019-2020 category comprises current affairs with all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2019-2020 for UPSC, States, Civil services, SSC and other competitive examinations of India and States.

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HarmonyOS: Huawei launches its own Operating System

Chinese telecom giant Huawei launched its own operating system called HarmonyOS or HongMeng in Chinese. It was revealed by Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business at a press conference in Dongguan.

This unveiling comes at a time when telecom giant is facing threat of losing access to Google’s Android platform, amid escalating U.S.-China trade tensions, although Huawei has reportedly been working on its own operating system since 2012.

About HarmonyOS

HarmonyOS is future oriented and designed to be more smooth and secure, and is completely different from Android and iOS.

The first version of this operating system would launch in late 2019 in its smart screen products and would later be expanded to across a range of smart devices, including wearable technology, over next 3 years.

Backup Plan: Although Huawei had no plan to launch a smartphone with HarmonyOS but the company has a backup plan ready i.e. if in future Huawei would cannot use Android then the company can immediately switch to HarmonyOS. This is because without access to full version of Android/other popular services offered by Google (including applications available on Google Play store), Huawei may face trouble in convincing its consumers outside China to buy its phones.

Importance: This highly anticipated operating system is considered crucial for Huawei’s survival as it confronts a looming White House ban on U.S. companies that are selling technology products to Huawei, which could possibly remove Huawei’s access to Android.

Background

In May 2019 Huawei was swept into deepening trade war between China and US which has seen punitive tariffs slapped on billions of dollars of two-way trade.

US President Donald Trump amid suspicions that Chinese telecom giant Huawei which is considered world leader in superfast fifth-generation (5G) equipment and is also world’s number 2 smartphone producer, provides a backdoor for Chinese intelligence services, blacklisted the company. However firm denies US accusations.

Blacklisting of Huawei by US, has resulted into restrictions on American companies which are theoretically no longer allowed to sell technology products to firm, however a 3-month exemption period (which ends in second week of August), was granted by US before measure came into force.

Ban could prevent Chinese tech firm from getting hold of key hardware and software which includes smartphone chips and elements of Google Android operating system (OS), which equips vast majority of smartphones in world, including those of Huawei.

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Scientist discover way to turn cactus leaves in Biodegradable Plastics

Researcher from Mexico has discovered way to turn cactus leaves into non toxic and biodegradable material with similar properties to plastic. This innovation offers a promising solution to one of the world’s biggest pollution conundrums caused by toxic and non-biodegradable plastics.

Process of turning cactus leaves into Plastic

The pulp of the prickly pear cactus is strained to obtain a juice. Then it is mixed with non-toxic additives and stretched to produce sheets that are coloured with pigments and folded to form different types of packaging materials. This material obtained is non-toxic, environment friendly and biodegradable.

Biodegradable plastic

It is plastic made from all-natural plant materials (including corn oil, orange peels, starch, and plants etc.). It can decompose naturally in the environment when microorganisms in the soil metabolize and break down the structure of biodegradable plastic.

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