Microcontroller Boards
Power Management
Nordic Semiconductor


An open-source platform for the battery-free Internet of Things

$18,231 raised

of $17,000 goal

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Every year millions of new portable IoT devices are sold, and they are all powered by batteries. Regularly replacing millions of batteries is inconvenient, expensive, and bad for the environment. We believe it’s time for a responsible Internet of Things that leaves batteries behind in favor of renewable energy and sustainable energy storage.

Our battery-free devices rely entirely on energy that can be harvested from sources like small solar panels. The harvested energy is often unreliable and insufficient to power such a device directly. To remain operable, it will accumulate energy in tiny, sustainable capacitors. When those capacitors are charged, the device will activate and function until its capacitors are drained, at which point it will turn off until it has gathered enough energy to resume operation. Our custom hardware-and-software solution automatically handles this intermittent execution so that you can write your code just like you would for a powered board.

Why Go Battery Free?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the waste from batteries adds up to over 180,000 tons per year in the US alone. Most of this toxic waste gets burned or ends up in landfill. Rechargeable batteries may reduce the amount of waste by lasting a few hundred charging cycles but they are made from unsustainable materials like Lithium and Cobalt.

Riotee instead relies on sustainable capacitors for energy storage. The materials used in these capacitors are commonly found around the globe, and the capacitors themselves last for decades – much longer than the lifetime of a typical device. You can contribute to a more responsible Internet of Things by using Riotee for your next project.

Reduce Maintenance Effort

If your battery-powered device does any significant sensing, computing, or communication, you will either have to deal with large, expensive batteries or replace your smaller, cheaper batteries every couple of days, which is annoying, expensive, and bad for the environment.

With Riotee, you don’t need to worry about replacing batteries. A tiny solar panel measuring 23 x 8 mm can produce around 25 mWh on an overcast day. To get the same amount of energy from a typical CR2032 coin-cell battery, you would have to replace it about once a month.

Explore Something New

Our team of researchers has contributed to something of a revolution within the scientific community. More and more of us are leaving batteries behind in favor of newer, smarter designs that leverage concepts like mesh networking and human-activity recognition. With Riotee, you can be part of that movement. Begin your battery-free adventure with the latest hardware, straight from the research lab!

Start Easy, Then Go Pro

Until recently, you’d have faced extremely high barriers to entry if you wanted to start designing battery-free IoT products. If you weren’t interested in developing your own hardware from scratch, you’d have been faced with premature, poorly documented schematics. We’ve been there, and it took a great deal of time, effort, and money to get where we are now. Riotee is an affordable line of products with an easy-to-use Arduino package to help you get started, but it’s also a robust, well-documented hardware platform that advanced users and product designers will find infinitely hackable.

The Riotee Ecosystem

We offer six products that make it easy for you to implement your battery-free application, whatever that may be.

Riotee Module

Our Riotee Module is the heart of the product line. It integrates energy harvesting, energy storage, power management, non-volatile memory, a powerful Cortex-M4 processor, and a 2.4-GHz, BLE-compatible radio into a tiny module with the footprint of a postage stamp. Solder it to a PCB full of sensors, peripherals, and whatever else you need for your application. Add a solar panel, and you have a fully functional, battery-free device!

Riotee Module block diagram

Riotee Module Features & Specifications

Riotee Board

Our Riotee Board combines a Riotee Module with a USB Type-C connector and circuitry that facilitates programming and debugging. Two 0.1-inch pin sockets expose all signals from the Riotee module, including 11 GPIOs that support I²C, SPI, and analog sensor applications. You can also use these headers to connect multiple Riotee Shields if you want to extend the capabilities of your device without designing a custom PCB. The Riotee Board has a push button, an LED, and a connector for a solar panel. Once your firmware has been flashed to the board, it will automatically switch over to untethered, battery-free operation.

Riotee Board pinout

Riotee Board Features & Specifications

Riotee Solar Shield

Our Solar Shield plugs into the Riotee Board’s headers. It has four small solar cells and a pair of sliding switches that allow you to select one, three, or all four solar cells so you can experiment to see which configuration works best under specific conditions.

Riotee Solar Shield Features & Specifications

Riotee Sensor Shield

Our Sensor Shield adds an accelerometer, a temperature-and-humidity sensor, and a microphone.

Riotee Sensor Shield Features & Specifications

Riotee Capacitor Shield

Our Capacitor Shield allows you to add more capacitance to your device. The capacitors on-board the Riotee module are sufficient for many applications, but some require more in order to, for example, send a large wireless packet. The Capacitor Shield includes an eight-position switch that allows you to connect additional capacitors ranging from tiny ceramics to large supercapacitors.

Riotee Capacitor Shield Features & Specifications

Riotee Probe

Our Riotee Probe allows you to program a Riotee Module after you’ve soldered it onto your PCB or plugged it into a breadboard. It has a standard, 10-pin, 0.1-inch connector and is compatible with Tag-Connect cables that support in-circuit debugging.

Riotee Probe Features & Specifications

Product Selection Guide

From Classrooms to Smart Farming to City-Scale Sensing

Combine a Riotee Board with a Sensor Shield and a Solar Shield, and you’ve got yourself a weather station that can send environmental sensor data to the cloud for decades without ever needing a battery replacement. Or, how about wedging our tiny Riotee Module into a battery-free fitness tracker that measures oxygen saturation and counts steps while drawing power from body heat or solar energy? Want to teach students the basics of sustainable electronics and renewable energy? Our Arduino-based software will help you do so using hands-on examples. And of course, if you’re a researcher working on advanced topics like machine learning, mesh networking, or intermittent computing, Riotee can help you explore the latest scientific advancements in the field.


Riotee is fundamentally different from existing battery-free platforms. It is an open-source platform that you can program using standard tools—like Makefiles and pyOCD/OpenOCD—or from within the Arduino IDE. It combines a powerful, 64-MHz CPU with a floating point unit and non-volatile RAM that allows it to checkpoint application state. Together, these features provide battery-free support for long-running computations like machine-learning inference. Riotee also offers various peripheral interfaces so you can easily connect sensors, storage, and additional radios. Our open-source protocol implementations allow you to connect your devices to the cloud, or you can access the radios directly to develop your own protocols.

RioteeEnocean STM 400JWiliot Pixel ¹Everactive Eversensor ¹
Radio Open 2.4 GHz (BLE, Zigbee, etc.) Proprietary Sub-GHz 2.4 GHz BLE Proprietary Sub-GHz
Harvesting technology Solar, thermal, kinetic, and more ² Solar, thermal, kinetic, and more ² RF RF, solar, thermal, kinetic, and more ²
CPU64 MHz 32-bit Cortex-M4 w/FPU 16 MHz 8-bit 8051 Core 1 MHz 32-bit Cortex-M0+ 32-bit Cortex-M0
Memory512 kB flash, 128 kB RAM 64 kB flash, 4 kB RAM 64 kB flash, 2 kB RAM Unknown
Open SourceAll software, and hardware design files for all accessories No No No
ProgrammableYes Yes No No
Intermittent ComputingYes No No No
Non-volatile RAM128 kB No No No
PeripheralsADC, SPI, I²C, UART, PWM, and I²S ADC, DAC None ADC
Communication RangeOver 100 m (estimated) 300 m 10 m 250 m
Maximum Power Point TrackingYes No No Yes
Programming toolsStandard, cross-platform (GCC, pyOCD, Arduino, etc.) Custom, Windows-only IDE Cloud-based only Cloud-based only
Usage FeesNo No Yes Yes

¹ "Starter kit" only. Individual modules and development boards are not available for purchase by end users
² Solar harvesting is often the easiest, most available energy source, but as long as you match the voltage and power requirements of the Riotee module you can also power the device from other energy sources like kinetic or thermal harvesting


Support & Documentation

All of our software is open source. You can find it in our GitHub repositories:

A pinout diagram, block diagram, footprint, and 3D model of the Riotee module are available here. For all other products, the complete hardware design files are available under the CERN OSHW license:

You can also find a Getting started guide on our documentation page. We will continue publishing documentation and examples over the coming weeks.

Manufacturing Plan

The working title of the Riotee Module was squeeze. We tried to make it as small as possible while still allowing users to hand solder it onto their PCBs. This has lead to a fairly dense layout. There are several WLCSP packages with pitches down to 350 um. You only appreciate just how small that is when you try to place such devices by hand. Accommodating 7 ICs, 75 passives and an antenna on a PCB measuring 15.2 x 27.18 mm requires the use of high-density interconnect (HDI) PCBs. Such PCBs have trace widths of well below 100 um and make use of laser-drilled blind and buried vias that connect individual layers without wasting precious space on others. This type of PCB can only be manufactured by specialized fabs, and production cannot be pooled with other orders, which makes it notoriously expensive at low volumes. The funds raised by this campaign will allow us to reach a batch size that these costs across many PCBs, thereby allowing us to charge an affordable price.

After a successful campaign, we will order a batch of PCBs from our partner in China who supplied the PCBs for our prototype runs. This guarantees that the RF properties of the final PCBs match the prototypes exactly and that the in-progress antenna tuning achieves optimal performance on production devices as well.

To cope with ongoing component shortages, we have already purchased 500 pcs of the three core ICs that are critical for the Riotee Module. This will help us ensure the swift delivery of our first batch.

After receiving the PCBs and the remaining components, we will take them to our long-term partner here in Berlin for assembly. After assembly, every module will undergo rigorous testing in our custom jig. These tests will cover the energy-harvesting circuitry as well as the microcontroller and the radio. If everything checks out, the module will either be packaged or placed on a Riotee Board.

Compared to the Riotee Module itself, manufacturing our dev board and accessories is a walk in the park. They contain no ICs that face supply-chain issues, and the manufacturing of two-layer PCBs can be done quickly and reliably by most fabs. We will use our trusted turnkey manufacturer for this stage of production.

Fulfillment & Logistics

After our production run is complete, we will box everything up and send it along to Crowd Supply’s fulfillment partner, Mouser Electronics, who will handle distribution to backers worldwide. You can learn more about Crowd Supply’s fulfillment service under Ordering, Paying, and Shipping in their guide.

Risks & Challenges

Despite gradual improvements to recent supply-chain challenges, it is still possible that one or more components could become unavailable between now and the end of the campaign. If that were to happen, we would need an additional prototyping cycle to test alternatives before beginning production. Fortunately, we have access to excellent prototyping facilities that allow us to assemble all of these products manually, which would significantly reduces the delay caused by any such issue.

In the Press

Hackster News

"Designed for ultra-low-power operation, these stackable development boards and compact module aim to take the batteries out of the IoT."

IMC IoT Council

"The heart of the technology is the Riotee module that integrates energy harvesting, energy storage, power management, non-volatile memory, a Cortex-M4 processor and a... Bluetooth LE-compatible radio into a module with the footprint of a postage stamp."

Ask a Question

Produced by Nessie Circuits in Berlin, Germany.

Sold and shipped by Crowd Supply.

Riotee Module

Battery-free BLE module.

$59 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

Riotee Board

Development board for Riotee Module. Comes with two unsoldered pin headers.

$99 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

Riotee Solar Shield

Add-on shield with four small solar panels for Riotee Board. Comes with two unsoldered pin headers

$39 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

Riotee Sensor Shield

Add-on shield with a microphone, an accelerometer, and a temperature-and-humidity sensor for Riotee Board. Comes with two unsoldered pin headers.

$39 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

Riotee Capacitor Shield

Add-on shield with a selection of additional capacitors for Riotee Board. Comes with two unsoldered pin headers.

$39 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

Riotee Probe

USB programming dongle for Riotee Module

$56 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

nRF52840 Dongle

From the Crowd Supply Basics project.

Useful for building a basestation or gateway.

Bluetooth Development Tools - 802.15.1 USB Dongle for Eval of NRF52840

$10 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

About the Team

Nessie Circuits

Berlin, Germany  ·  NessieCircuits  ·  github.com/NessieCircuits

Nessie Circuits—founded in 2021 in Berlin, Germany—offers embedded hardware and software solutions to customers from academia and industry. Our special focus is on low-power, energy-harvesting devices.

Kai Geissdoerfer


Marco Zimmerling

See Also

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