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.

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

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