Can a device originally conceived to track vital signs and boost physical fitness also delve deeply into other areas of the human anatomy — like the brain and heart?
To a growing number of experts and companies in the sector, the answer is yes.
As Euromonitor International projects total sales of U.S. wearables will top $13 billion by 2021, the future of the devices appears to be growing rosier for those who cater to niches of the market — or build on functions offered by other gadgets.
"Wearables may be the devices of the future," Euromonitor consumer electronics researcher Loo Wee Teck wrote recently. "But consumers seem most keen on functionality that currently exists on other devices."
Teck told CNBC that consumers value small and slim wearables, a challenging feat to achieve with an all-in-one device using today's technology. Yet he said "hyperspecialization" could help promote the next generation of wearables, with added benefits. "If you can do a specific niche wearable, you should be able to extend the battery life," Teck said.