On the underside of most smart vacuum, you will find a number of infrared sensors that line the edge of the unit. These sensors alert the vacuum when it's nearing a ledge, like at the top of a staircase for example. When an edge is detected, the unit will stop in its tracks and immediately changes directions to prevent a fall. These are known as "cliff" sensors.
Basically, these sensors emit infrared (IR) light, which bounces between the vacuum and the floor. As illustrated below, in most cases, your floor or carpet reflects this infrared light, which bounces back to the sensor; telling the vacuum to continue on its merry vacuuming way...
So you can appreciate that if the edge of the vacuum is hanging off the lip of a staircase, no longer is there a reflective surface for the infrared light to bounce off of, as illustrated below.
Luckily, in this instance, because an edge has been detected, your vacuum will motor backwards to keep itself from tumbling down the stairs.
Unfortunately, (and here's where we come in) no matter how smart your vacuum thinks it is, it actually can't tell the difference between the top of the stairs, and the dark stripes that line your rug. And because it is unable to distinguish between the two, it will turn around in both scenarios; leaving your rug dirty and you frustrated.
So when you apply your IR Sensor Shields over these sensors, the same infrared light continues to be emitted, but now, it's immediately reflected back, regardless of how complicated your rug pattern is or how dark your carpet may be. So as far as your vacuum knows, it's traversing the same brightly colored surface no matter what.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Now, understanding how this all works, and because you're tricking your vacuum into thinking it's never in danger, if you do in fact have stairs or a similar layout in your home which could damage your vacuum if it were to fall, you have two options.
- As much as we'd love for you to join the ranks of our happy customers, the last thing we'd want is for something to happen to your vacuum, so these may not be the right thing for your situation and
- Most manufacturers sell a complementary to your vacuum, which is commonly known as a "virtual wall." These accessories send out an invisible signal which acts as a barrier, preventing the unit from crossing. You will want to reach out to your respective robot brand manufacturer for more details and availability.