Glowing Mechanical Eyes
"Could you close your eyes? I feel like I am banging tail lights on a country road."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.
— Sterling Archer, Archer
open/close all folders
- It's extremely common to see the eye cameras of mobile suits glow throughout the Gundam franchise, be they two or one eyed robots. In most series your guaranteed to get at least one close up shot of a gundam's eyes starting to glow as it powers up, or an enemy mobile suits monoeye suddenly glowing red as it scans it's target.
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
- Red glowing eyes are one of the most distinctive features of Terminators. In the original film, after his bio eye was damaged, the Terminator was forced to wear sunglasses to hide his glowing robot eye.
- Star Wars gives almost all of its droids glowing eyes. A notable scene in The Empire Strikes Back has Chewie trying to repair C-3PO; his eyes go out when Chewie fiddles with something, suggesting that C-3PO has been deactivated — but in a subversion, he continues speaking, only complaining about how now he can't see.
- In Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, Kiryu's eyes glow red whenever he reverts back to his old instincts as the original Godzilla and goes on a rampage.
- The Autobots and Decepticons in Transformers.
- In Blade Runner, the replicants have a camera-like, reflective red glow to the eyes under certain lights. However, what the replicants are exactly is uncertain, they seem to be more Artificial Humans than robots.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe has many different kinds of prosthetic/artificial eye. There are eyes that look entirely like normal human eyes, installed into Dengar and every human replica droid. There are some that are glossy reflective black. Some people get visors. Normal droid eyes glow, and it's also very common for humans with prosthetic eyes to get glowing red ones.
- In Heart Of Steel, Alistair has a mechanical eye that glows either blue (when he's calm or happy), red (when he's angry) or green (when he is using nightvision).
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.
- In BattleTech, the Atlas II (and sometimes the standard Atlas) Battlemech is depicted with glowing red eyes in its white skull-shaped head. Depending on the model/variant number, the cockpit is either housed in one eye (sometimes with the other being the housing for a laser) or the nose. The Cyclops (take a wild guess as to what it looks like) likewise is typically equipped with a glowing eye.
- 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.
- In Portal, the machine gun turrets, the personality cores, and GLaDOS all have glowing eyes.
- Mass Effect uses glowing eyes for both the geth and generic security robots. Useful for lighting up when the unit activates. More subtly, the Illusive Man has glowing, blue cybernetic eyes. Also, as a result of his/her rebirth, Shepard can get glowing red eyes, but only with a high Renegade score.
- In Kingdom of Loathing, a MagiTechMechaMech's eye will even continue to glow when severed.
- Robots in Stealth Bastard have these.
- Most of the robots in Binary Domain have these. Hollow Children do too when they are being controlled by the Amada A.I.
- Most robots in Team Fortress 2's Mann vs. Machine mode have them, except for the Pyro robots and the Demoman Robot, who has a single eye.
- In the fourth Super Smash Bros., Mega Man (Classic)'s eyes are basically LED screens (with the eyes being merely pictures on them).
- PlanetSide 2 has glowing red eyes on many of the Terran Republic's Cool Helmets. Their MAX Powered Armor suits in particular always have glowing eyes◊.
- In the MechWarrior series, the Atlas battlemech is often equipped with glowing eyes in its Skull for a Head cockpit, often coinciding with it being a mounting point for Eye Beams. The Cyclops in the Freeware Game re-release of Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries had a glowing Cyber Cyclops head that was the mounting point for a laser cannon.