Dr. Zubair Fadlullah
Dr. Zubair Fadlullah

Dr. Zubair Fadlullah, a Lakehead University-Health Research Institute Research Chair in Smart Health Technology, is one of two Lakehead University professors who have been awarded grants from the federal New Frontiers in Research Fund in Exploration to pursue important work that will benefit Canada and beyond.

Dr. Fadlullah is receiving $250,000 over two years to investigate the use of drones to address the lack of reliable internet access and health care connectivity in rural areas in Northern Ontario. The aim of this research is to address both the urban-rural digital and health care gaps in an interdisciplinary manner.

“Connectivity is a key enabler for providing smart health care by monitoring and managing physical/mental health conditions and addiction trends,” Dr. Fadlullah wrote in his research proposal.
To tackle the digital divide issue, this research will use a robust communication infrastructure by leveraging Unmanned Aerial Vehicles such as drones, equipped with communication and energy harvesting modules as well as robotic arms, to form an agile network.

To address the health care gap in Northern Ontario, the drone-aided network, coupled with cost-effective device-to-device relays composed of smartphones, will offload the health data collected by Internet of Things and wearable devices deployed at the remote communities.

Dr. Fadlullah will carry out the research at two locations: the preliminary research investigation and experiment will occur at a Lakehead University research lab and the field experiment will be carried out at one of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations communities.

He will work with co-principal investigator Dr. Vijay Mago, an associate professor in Computer Science at Lakehead who is assisting with data analytics, and with co-applicant Keewaytinook Okimakanak eHealth Telemedicine, which will provide insight as they work toward implementing a successful solution.

To read the original announcement, visit: https://bit.ly/NewFrontiersinResearchFund-May2020