Prof Johan Potgieter staff profile picture

Contact details +6469517118

Prof Johan Potgieter PhD. (Engineering)

Professor of Robotics

School of Food and Advanced Technology

Professor Johan Potgieter is a professor of Robotics within the Massey Agritech Partnership (MAP) Research Centre. His current research interests are mainly in areas of Additive Manufacturing and advanced mechatronics/robotics with applications in medicine and automotive related areas. He has been an avid user of additive manufacturing since the mid-90s and is passionate about the potential it offers for innovation and how it allows small businesses to much more easily reach the world market. He has a well established reputation for his work in educational robotics and have been inducted into the World Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation Hall of Fame. Johan has created a hub for some of the most outstanding innovation, robotics, IOT (Internet of Things) and 3D printing. You can find him guiding and advising students, directing projects, and sharing his knowledge with the aspiring innovators of the future.

As Professor of Robotics and Automation at MAF Digital Lab and Director, Massey University Centre for Additive Manufacturing, Johan brings a high level of experience in both engineering and governance.

Aside from his teaching work, Johan is also involved with companies throughout New Zealand as part of the New Zealand Product Accelerator, bringing their ideas and projects to life. He helps students to commercialise their innovative products into viable and fully operational businesses, an invaluable real world experience seldom offered by tertiary institutions.

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Contact details

  • Ph: +64 6 951-7118
    Location: JL 2.1, John Littleton Building AgResearch Grasslands Facility
    Campus: Manawhatu


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering) - University of Natal (2003)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Robotics, Mechatronics, IOT, AM.


21st Century Citizenship, Design – for Commerce, Community and Culture

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Automation and Control Engineering (091302): Autonomous Vehicles (091303): CAD/CAM Systems (091001): Engineering (090000): Flexible Manufacturing Systems (091002): Machining (091004): Manufacturing Engineering (091000): Manufacturing Engineering not elsewhere classified (091099): Manufacturing Robotics and Mechatronics (excl. Automotive Mechatronics) (091007): Mechanical Engineering (091300): Mechanical Engineering not elsewhere classified (091399):
Technology (100000)

Research Projects

Completed Projects

Project Title: PSAF: Remote Inspection Robot

Date Range: 2017 - 2018

Funding Bodies: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Massey Ventures Ltd

Project Team:

Project Title: PSAF: Electrospinning 3D Printer

Date Range: 2016 - 2020

Funding Bodies: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Massey Ventures Ltd

Project Team:

Project Title: Pastoral Robot - Pastoral Metering

Date Range: 2016 - 2021

Funding Bodies: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; C-Dax Ltd

Project Team:

Project Title: FIET - Milk Chilling & Farm Vat - Project 1b

Date Range: 2015 - 2021

Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Project Team:

Project Title: PSAF: Automated Concrete Polishing

Date Range: 2016 - 2019

Funding Bodies: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Massey Ventures Ltd

Project Team:

Project Title: FIET - Robotic Valve Plate - Project 11b

Date Range: 2015 - 2021

Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Project Team:

Consultancy and Languages


  • English
    Last used: Now
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent
  • Afrikaans
    Last used: Now
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent

Teaching and Supervision

Current Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • Yi Wang - Doctor of Philosophy
    Research on Saliency Detection for Visual and Auditory Scenes based on Deep Learning
  • Yujun Ma - Doctor of Philosophy
    Novel deep learning based approaches for video classification
  • Sharafat Ali - Doctor of Philosophy
    Machine Learning based Calibration Techniques for Low-Cost Air Quality Sensors

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • 2023 - Jean Odendaal - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Development of a Steerable Needle Robot with Biomaterials for the Application of 3D Printing In Situ Towards In Vivo Artificial Muscles
  • 2022 - Tanisha Pereira - Doctor of Philosophy
    An investigation into non-destructive testing strategies and in-situ surface finish improvement for direct metal printing with SS 17-4PH
  • 2020 - Muhammad Harris - Doctor of Philosophy
    Materials for 3d printed insulation and support matrices for the milk tanks
  • 2020 - Juan Schutte - Doctor of Philosophy
    Modular Mechatronics Technology for Fibre-Based Manufacturing and Biofabrication Research
  • 2017 - Arno Ferreira - Doctor of Philosophy
    Comprehensive Investigation of Mechanical Properties of Fused Deposition Modelling
  • 2017 - Changjuan Jing - Doctor of Philosophy
    Real Time Visual SLAM for Mobile Robot Navigation and Object Detection
  • 2014 - Rana Mubarak - Doctor of Philosophy
    Dynamic Response of Rotationally Periodic Structures
  • 2013 - Frazer Noble - Doctor of Philosophy
    A Novel, Neuroscience-based Control Paradigm for Wearable Assistive Devices
  • 2009 - Jonathan Zyzalo - Doctor of Philosophy
    Improved mathematical model of the limage model for curing dimensionally accurate medium sizd parts with masked projection stereolithography

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2023 - ~ Satwinder Singh - Doctor of Philosophy
    End-to-End Automatic Speech Recognition for Low-Resource Languages
  • 2022 - Muhammad Saleem - Doctor of Philosophy
    Deep learning-based approaches for plant disease and weed detection
  • 2022 - Zhizhong Ma - Doctor of Philosophy
    Speech Processing with Deep Learning for Voice-based Respiratory Diagnosis
  • 2021 - Yuanhang Qiu - Doctor of Philosophy
    Deep Learning for Speech Enhancement
  • 2019 - Swapna Jaywant - Doctor of Philosophy
    Self-assembled Optical Diffraction Sensor for Water Quality Monitoring
  • 2019 - Nireekshan Sodavaram - Doctor of Philosophy
    Micro-Implantable Pressure Sensor for Lifetime Monitoring of Intracranial Pressure
  • 2019 - Morio Fukuoka - Doctor of Philosophy
    Catalytic Steam Reformer Tubes Non-destructive Inspection Technology Investigation and Advancement
  • 2017 - Cao Pham - Doctor of Philosophy
    Integrated and Adaptive Traffic Signal Control for Diamond Interchange
  • 2014 - Xue Yu - Doctor of Philosophy
    Dynamic Programming based coordinated ramp metering algorithms
  • 2014 - Xiaoyun Wang - Doctor of Philosophy
    A Novel Wearable Assistive Device for Jaw Motion Disability Rehabilitation
  • 2008 - Matthew Aladesaye - Doctor of Philosophy
    Application of Predictive Maintenance to Industry Including Cepstrum Analysis of a Gearbox

Media and Links

Other Links