Glowing Mechanical Eyes

"Could you close your eyes? I feel like I am banging tail lights on a country road."
Sterling Archer, Archer

Robotic or cyborg characters will frequently have obviously artificial eyes. Presumably these are some sort of video camera, which makes sense for an artificial creation. Unlike normal cameras, however, these will usually glow with an inner light. While this makes very little sense from a mechanical design perspective, it makes excellent sense from a character design perspective. Eyes convey a lot of information about a person; light-up eyes help make up for a robot face's lack of expressiveness.

By varying the intensity, shape, and color of the light, a robotic character can convey much of the emotion that would otherwise be lost. A brief flash of intense light can indicate surprise or anger. The light going out can show that the character is unconscious, blind, or dead; conversely, the light coming back on is a form of Eye Awaken. If the light is red, you might want to watch out (especially if its usually a different color, but suddenly turns red). If the eye glow can change shape, then it becomes nearly as expressive as normal eyes; the glow widen or narrow, the expressiveness of eyebrows can be simulated by eliminating strategic parts of the glow (a >:| face is popular with this technique), etc.

Glowing robotic eyes can also be used to indicate anything that glowing eyes can mean on organic characters as well, from impending doom to inner power. Glowing Mechanical Eyes are a prerequisite for Eye Lights Out. A Cyber Cyclops is a specific variant. If things that are supposed to glow are also able to see it's a case of Screens Are Cameras.


Examples:

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    Films — Animated 
  • The eyes of the characters in Robots glow, even forming torch-like beams in the dust in the air in pitch-black locations.
  • The Iron Giant has glowing irises and glowing pupils.
  • In Treasure Planet, Ben has LED eyes that illuminate in the dark in one scene.
  • That one car seen in Paris in Cars 2, unlike everyone else whose eyes are located on their windshields.
  • The Leviathan from Atlantis The Lost Empire has large mechanical optics, revealing the fact that it is actually a machine.
  • Baymax from Big Hero 6 gets these when Hiro removes the chip containing his "caregiver" programming.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • In Battlestar Galactica and its remake, the eye of each Cylon glows.
  • Animal Zords in Super Sentai and Power Rangers have glowing eyes, as do the Megazords.
  • In Kamen Rider, many Riders have eyepieces that light up, though circumstances for doing so differ. No matter when or if a Rider's eyepieces usually light, when morphing at the same time as Kamen Rider Decade, the eyepieces will flash when the transformation sequence finishes, right alongside Decade, whose eyepieces always do.

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Game 

    Toys 
  • Most characters in BIONICLE. On the toys, this is usually represented by transparent pieces, but in the animated media the eyes are given a definite glow. Though a fair number of 2006 sets did come with functioning light-up eyes.
  • Not uncommon in the Transformers franchise. Often represented in the toys via translucent plastic with a "lightpiping" effect, though some larger toys with electronic gimmicks do have light-up eyes.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation