The secret weapon in the wearable tech revolution

The OriginGPS Nano Spider module is smaller than a pencil lead
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Israeli chip specialist OriginGPS unveiled the world’s smallest fully integrated GPS receiver this week. Measuring just 4 x 4 x 2.1mm, the Nano Spider is 75% smaller than the previous smallest effort; the company’s Micro Spider.

While the size of a GPS module might not sound the biggest news for wearable tech, it's the first step on the road to making smaller devices.

By reducing the size, it means manufacturers can not only produce smaller wearables that are better suited to women, but also add GPS into more discreet devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches – just one of the six Android Wear devices currently has GPS on-board.

David Borison, senior director of Location Product Marketing at CSR – the Cambridge based company that works with OriginGPS on wearable modules – told Wareable that the launch “will play a pivotal role in accelerating market adoption of location technologies in wearable devices and cameras."

“In recent years, manufacturers have faced the challenge of minimising the embedded GNSS module size without compromising on performance, sensitivity, or power consumption,” he explained. “OriginGPS has helped to address this.”

GPS plays a crucial role in accurately tracking location, meaning smartwatches and sensors with GPS connectivity built in – such as the Sony SmartWatch 3 and the Microsoft Band – are far superior when it comes to run tracking.

But while brands like Polar and Garmin have had GPS receivers in their running watches for years, it’s tech that traditionally comes with a premium. But OriginGPS Gai Jacobi said modules like the Nano Spider signalled a new era.

“The wearable technology trend requires components that balance a small size with high-performance power consumption,” he said. “OriginGPS aims to continue to shrink the size of components, while increasing features to make adding location functionality possible for every device.”

How we test

Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

Related stories