Ideas from napkins capable of detecting date-rape drugs to portable storage for college students competed, but a home-care robot with artificial intelligence came out on top.

INF Robotics, a startup out of Fairfax, went home with a $15,000 prize after winning the Big Launch Challenge on Wednesday.

The event, hosted by Danville’s the Launch Place and North Carolina-based First Flight Venture Center, centered around 10 startups.

Each were asked to present a pitch to a panel of judges for the chance to win an investment toward their company.

Skyphos Technologies, a Roanoke-based startup, won a second place prize of $5,000. The company specialized in manufacturing microscopic and macroscopic parts with 3-D printing for research centers.

Those two companies went home with big checks, but the other eight also received small trophies commending them for being finalists in the challenge.

Halle Parker reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at or (434) 791-7981.

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