The Talking Lightbulb is some visual effect, often a simple blinking light, that flickers away whenever a robot or computer speaks, for no reason other than to look cool. Maybe it's supposed to help the audience focus on a character that doesn't move its face when it speaks, generally because it has no face. It is often used in combination with RoboSpeak. Can be [[JustifiedTrope justified]] as a user-friendly feature, since for people on ''both'' sides of the FourthWall, it's the simplest way to make obvious at a glance which one speaks when several robots, computerized appliances, and talking alarm clocks are around.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In ''LyricalNanoha'', if a [[TalkingWeapon Device]] has a prominent PowerCrystal, it will blink and flicker in this manner when it speaks conversationally.
* In ''FireballCharming'', Gedächtnis's eye lights up as he speaks.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* One TropeCodifier is Robbie the Robot, who debuted in ''ForbiddenPlanet''. Robbie looked like a thickset suit of armor that had had a jukebox dropped on it and, like a jukebox, had an impressive light-show built in. This included a roughly mouth-placed panel of lights that flashed in rhythm with his speech, which had a moderate RoboSpeak accent.
* R2-D2 in ''StarWars'' has a light next to his speaker that changes from blue to red as he talks.
* In the ''Film/ShortCircuit'' movies, Johnny 5 has, what he refers to as, "lip lights".

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The Robot from ''LostInSpace'' looked a great deal like Robbie, including the glass-dome-lightshow head and the Talking Lightbulb "mouth."
** At Paul Allen's Science Fiction Museum there's a display with Robbie and The Robot next to each other. They converse with each other [[CargoShip on various subjects]].
* The ship's computer in ''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Star Trek: The Original Series]]'' displayed an oscilloscope display when it spoke (in heavy RoboSpeak). Also, in the famous episode "The Menagerie", the infirm Captain Pike, in a futuristic wheelchair, can only communicate with brainwaves translated by the wheelchair - [[OnceForYesTwiceForNo one beep for 'yes', two for 'no']].
** In the episode "The Changeling", the intelligent space probe Nomad has green flashing lights all the time, as well as yellow and red lights when it speaks.
* KITT, the robotic car from ''KnightRider'', had and has a Talking Lightbulb speech display in both series. The original used a series of LED lights similar to a graphic equalizer, while the new one was an extra-cool plasma display.
* Daleks from ''Series/DoctorWho'' (who are actually aliens in PoweredArmor) also speak this way.
** Also the classic series incarnation of the Silurians.
** And the altered Ood, as well.
** Most robotic Doctor Who characters have this. The new Cybermen have upgraded to TalkingLightbulb status, and some versions of K9 too.
* The talking toaster in early series of ''Series/RedDwarf''.
* London's identical, sarcastic, talking stand mirrors from ''TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody'' and ''TheSuiteLifeOnDeck'' was ''surrounded'' by Talking Lightbulbs, in the manner of a typical frame-lit vanity mirror.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Many of the robots in ''{{Futurama}}'' have this effect. Bender is the one exception, he has a panel with a wave similar in appearance to an oscilloscope that is lipsynched to his speech. ''Futurama'' also parodied "The Menagerie"'s wheelchair when the characters had to testify in court in "Where No Fan Has Gone Before".
* Karen, Plankton's computer wife in ''SpongeBobSquarePants'', uses the oscilloscope version.
* Bit from ''{{Tron}}'' can fit this. As a bit, he is only capable of two responses--"yes" or "no"--and each response is accompanied by a change of shape: a yellow octahedron for "yes", or a red spiked 3D shape for "no".
** [[FridgeLogic Makes you wonder where he got his "usual" shape from]]. [[DontExplainTheJoke Bits are not supposed to]] [[TakeAThirdOption take a third state]] [[SchroedingersCat apart from "yes" or "no"]].
*** Positive charge, negative charge, NO charge
* Some {{Transformers}} without normal mouths are like this. The most notable is Wheeljack.
** Also (in at least some series), when a Transformer speaks in vehicle mode, whatever applicable form of headlight will flash in rhythm with the words.
* The Visor Robot from ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner''. An EasterEgg at the end of one cartoon starring it even revealed its voice box to be a red lightbulb after it exploded.
* WhateverHappenedToRobotJones had the titular character's eyes flash when he spoke.
* [[AnIcePerson Ice Man]] from ''WesternAnimation/MegaMan'' had a white strip on his face, that glowed ice-blue when he spoke.
* [[BigBad Junkman]], and his bumbling lackeys from ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibleCrashDummies'' had mouth-plates that flashed whenever they talked.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In the ''BillNyeTheScienceGuy'' computer game ''Stop the Rock!'', when the computer you had to convince humans were worth saving from a giant asteroid spoke, the screen it was using flashed large pixels expanding from the center, with color and number corresponding to volume.
* In ''Franchise/MassEffect'' Tali'Zorah's helmet (and presumably all Quarian suits) has a light that flashes in sync with her speech. Justified in that Quarian helmets obscure the face and as they wear them near-constantly it would make group conversations highly confusing.
** The Volus also have flashing lights, for exactly the same reason.
** The geth, which were designed by the quarians, also have this. Or at least, Legion does.
** Also in this category is Shepard's Blood Dragon Armor[[note]]bonus for owning a registered copy of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' in ''2'' and bought from a store in ''3''[[/note]], which has a helmet with an opaque visor.
* Clanky from ''BackyardSports'' has a lightbulb on his head which flashes in sync whenever Clanky "speaks."
* ''{{Franchise/Halo}}''. The monitors' eye light in the center of their 'body' flashes in sync with their speech. Funnily enough, a glitch in ''Halo 2'' reversed it, causing the light to dim instead whenever they spoke.
** Johnson actually addresses 343-Guilty Spark as "lightbulb" because of the effect.
* A non-technological example: when protoss characters in ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft}}'' talk, their eyes flash and change colors. Protoss have no mouths and speak telepathically, so the eye glow serves as a nice visual aid during mission briefings.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* ''Ringing'' Lightbulbs are standard equipment for the residences of the hard of hearing. Many flash in different patterns or colors, to distinguish whether it's the doorbell, the telephone, or the fire alarm that's out to attract the occupant's attention.
* Celluar phones will often use flashing lights, in the form of an LED or the phone's screen (sometimes both at once) in conjunction with the ringtone and vibrating function in order to get the owner's attention. Some phones can be programmed to flash the light in different colors and patterns based on ''why'' it needs your attention (missed call, text message, email, FaceBook update, etc.)

----
<<|SpeculativeFictionTropes|>>
<<|RobotRollCall|>>