If tech had a Superbowl, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) would be the likely arena.

The annual tech conference showcases the top technology startups and companies, and is often the source for new product announcements and forecasts on emerging tech trends.

While it’s a venue where major tech companies, such as Motorola, make big product announcements, it’s also a place where smaller tech companies and startups can make a name by showcasing their wares. A number of Chicago and Illinois tech companies and startups will be exhibiting at the upcoming event, held January 5-8, 2017 in Las Vegas.

Here’s a look at 10 local tech companies to keep your eye on at CES, plus a list of additional Illinois tech companies that will be exhibiting at the conference.

10 Tech Companies to Watch

1. Etymotic Research, Inc: This Elk Grove Village-based research, development and manufacturing company designs auditory devices that protect hearing, assess hearing, help those with hearing loss, and improve the listening experience for musicians and music lovers. Products range from the BlastPLG, electronic earplugs that allow the listener to maintain normal hearing while protecting from blasts and continual noise such as gunfire, explosions, vehicles, and machinery, to MusicPRO, electronic earplugs geared toward musicians.

2. Occly: This Chicago-based startup is creating a personal safety device worn on the body (clipped to a purse, pants, or running armband for example) outfitted with a panic button, four cameras, powerful lighting, impact sensors, a microphone and GPS. The accompanying app has a crowdsourced feature that alerts users if they’re in unsafe areas or approaching a dangerous location. It can also be converted into a home security system, using its motion-sensing and sound-detecting features.

3. Tanvas: This Northwestern spin out and Chicago-based company creates “surface haptics technology” for touchscreen devices, which allows for enhanced interaction between the finger and screen. For example, its technology could be used to replicate clothing texture for online retailers, in the classroom with kinesthetic learners, or for tactile dashboards in smart cars.


4. Zmodo: This China-based tech company, with US headquarters in Champaign, Ill., creates smart home and connected devices. Their products range from the Pivot, a rotation home surveillance camera, to the Torch light, a smart door light and connected doorbell. They’ll be unveiling a “total smart home vision” this year at CES.

5. Amper Technologies  This Evanston-based startup captures metrics on manufacturing and machinery efficiency. Their technology measures production anomalies, improves machine utilization and implements predictive maintenance.

6. Beastgrip  This Des Plaines startup creates accessories (such as camera rigs and lenses) for shooting film and photography on smartphones. They raised $265,000 on Kickstarter in 2015 (their goal was $50,000).

7. Modobag This Chicago startup created a motorized piece of carry on luggage. Users sit on the top of the bag, outfitted with a 24-volt lithium-powered electric motor, and travel through the airport at speeds up to 8 mph.

8. Monument This Chicago startup has created a device that stores and organizes photos. Their app automatically saves photos from users’ phones on its storage device and uses artificial intelligence to group photos based on facial recognition and activity (users can then search based off keywords). Last year they raised $703,000 on Kickstarter (they had a $60,000 goal) to produce Monument.


9. ONVI This Chicago startup is behind Prophix, a smart toothbrush that allows you to watch a live video of the inside of your mouth as you brush your teeth. The video camera paired with an iOS app lets you see if you’ve missed a spot while brushing, and takes photos of your teeth so you can monitor tooth health over time. The app also sends tips on dental hygiene.

10. Oomi This Chicago startup makes a smart home hub. The device allows users to add on as many connected features as they want, ranging from security to lighting to entertainment, while controlling the features in one place. When it raised $1.7 million on Indiegogo in 2015, it was Chicago’s most crowdfunded project.

Additional Exhibitors

Here’s a look at a range of exhibitors based in Illinois. See more startups and tech companies with Illinois connections at CES here.

Cobra Electronics Corporation (Chicago, Ill.) A global designer and marketer of mobile communications and navigation products.

ConnectSense (Naperville, Ill.) This startup makes smart outlets and sensors.

Easy Healthcare Corporation (Burr Ridge, Ill.) This company sells fertility and baby monitoring tech.

Fellowes Brands (Itasca, Ill.) A global manufacturer and marketer of a variety of products, including business machines, records storage solutions, workplace management products, home and commercial air purification and mobile technology accessories.

First Alert (Aurora, Ill.) A safety tech company showcasing OneLink, a suite of connected products including a smoke and carbon monoxide monitor, environment monitor, safe, and thermostat.

Fluxee (Chicago, Ill.) A platform that provides DIY VR kits to real estate brokers.


HERE (Chicago, Ill.) Digital mapping company owned by German carmakers Audi, BMW, and Daimler (and now in part by two Chinese companies and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC).

Knowles (Itasca, Ill.) A global supplier of performance audio, intelligent audio, and specialty components in the mobile communications, consumer electronics, hearing health, military/space and other industrial end markets.

Limitless Innovations Inc. (McHenry, Ill.) A series of home design and organization products, including organizers for chargers and coffee pods.

Maxxsonics USA Inc. (Libertyville, Ill.) The company behind car, home, marine, powersports and personal audio brands Hifonics, MB Quart, Autotek, and Crunch.

Personify Inc. (Chicago, Ill.) A startup creating next generation video conferencing tech.

Yolk (Chicago, Ill.) The startup behind Solar Paper: thin, portable charging pads.

Pidge Industries (Huntley, Ill.) A startup creating innovative water purification for individuals, businesses, and industries.

Race Sport (Lakemoor, Ill.) An LED lighting company specializing in automotive, powersport, marine, agriculture and more.

Rand McNally (Skokie, Ill.) A company specializing in maps, navigation, road travel, and trip planning.

REM-Fit (Chicago, Ill.) A company creating sleep and fitness apps and products.

Schumacher Electric Corp (Mount Prospect, Ill.) A tech company creating battery chargers, jump starters, 12V products, jumper cables, and batteries.

Se-Kure Controls Inc. (Franklin Park, Ill.) A company creating anti-theft tech.

Stern Pinball (Chicago, Ill.) Manufacturer of arcade quality pinball machines.

Tanita Corporation (Arlington Heights, Ill.) Maker of fitness and training products.

Vitrima (Chicago, Ill.) A startup creating a 3D lens for the GoPro.