->''"When a spark comes online, there is great joy. When one is extinguished... the universe weeps."''
-->-- '''Rhinox''', ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''

A character with a Heart Drive has an organ, [[MineralMacGuffin crystal]], [[GemHeart crystal]] [[BodyToJewel organ]] ([[BreadEggsBreadedEggs so to speak]]) or actual hardware inside their body that contains the very self of the character. The Heart Drive is in this sense similar to a SoulJar: it contains (or, in some cases, ''is'') the character's soul (or near enough that [[BrainUploading it makes no difference]]), and as long as it remains undamaged grants a measure of {{Immortality}}. Unlike a SoulJar, as long as the Heart Drive is outside the body the character is essentially dead, though they might remain awake and unable to take action inside the Heart Drive. Some Heart Drives can even be casually removed, stored, and reinserted to the body... or simply ''a'' body... and return the character back to life as if nothing happened.

If this is sounding a lot like a computer's Hard Drive, that's because it usually ''is'' one to many robot characters. Sort of like a cybernetic equivalent to a BrainInAJar. Thanks to their Heart Drive, most robots can pull off [[GoodThingYouCanHeal Good Thing You Can]] [[WeCanRebuildHim Rebuild]] or just transfer to a BodyBackupDrive. This is true for non-technology-based Heart Drives as well: characters whose intelligence is housed in a Heart Drive are also usually MadeOfIron, able to shrug off injuries that would make mortal characters pass out. Some Heart Drives also have a built-in HealingFactor to help repair or even ''[[FromASingleCell rebuild]]'' [[SelfConstructedBeing their body]]. At the extreme, they may consider [[ImmortalLifeIsCheap all non-fatal damage trivial]]... the down side is it also creates a gigantic WeakPoint for enemies to easily kill the character. That is, unless the character has the foresight to hide it beneath body armor.

One scary aspect of the HeartDrive is it can be a combination of BodySnatcher, TheSymbiote and ArtifactOfDoom. If it grafts itself onto another animal/character/clone body, the Heart Drive will [[DemonicPossession take over the mind]] and sometimes even "mutate" it into its [[TransformationOfThePossessed original form.]]

Subtrope of ImmortalityInducer. Compare CranialProcessingUnit.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Desty Nova has one in ''[[Manga/{{Gunnm}} Battle Angel Alita]]''. [[spoiler:It's his brain chip, and also he has a spare.]]
* Cell's core in ''[[Manga/DragonBall Dragon Ball Z]]''. Also Android 16's head -- even after the rest of his entire body was destroyed, he functioned well enough, and he likely could've been rebuilt. [[spoiler:Then Cell crushed 16's head.]]
* Blood seals in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''. The armor can be chopped to ribbons, but as long as the seal is undamaged, you're fine. But smudge it with a finger, and you're fucked. How does it work in the rain? The philosopher's stones themselves also count -- when a homunculus had its stone ripped out, the homunculus disintegrated and then reformed around the stone.
* In the ''Manga/GhostInTheShell'' universe, thanks to the advances of cybernetics, the human brain has come to approach a Heart Drive: people with full body replacement can simply have their brains moved to a new cyborg body. This happens to Major Kusanagi in the original 1995 film and the first ''[[Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex Stand Alone Complex]]'' series. The very first episode of ''Stand Alone Complex'' also shows how a person's brain can be stolen and replaced with somebody else's, if the victim isn't careful about basic security measures -- in this case, a Minister swapping his brains with a Geisha-robot for a bit of drunken fun when there's a foreign spy about.
* Another example is the ''Manga/{{Guyver}}''. If the suit's core is intact, its user can be ground to powder and the unit will simply regenerate him, conservation of matter be damned. But [[AttackItsWeakPoint crack it]], and the Guyver will actually ''eat you alive''.
* One of the Akatsuki members ([[spoiler:it's Sasori]]) in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''; this is why the person's "true form" never seems to physically age.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' uses the crystalline jewel organ version with its Angels -- and the Evas themselves, as shown in episode 19. In ''Anime/RebuildOfEvangelion 2.0'', Unit 02's core is physically removed at one point while the Eva is in cryofreeze. The original series implies that cores can be freely swapped between the production models. [[SuperPrototype Unit 01]], however, appears to have a partially overgrown non-removable core.
* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' has the Pure Heart Crystals and the Star Seeds (plus Sailor Crystals which are a subtype of Star Seed specific to the Sailor Senshi).
* The Medals for the eponymous ''VideoGame/{{Medabots}}''.
* ''Anime/DaiGuard'' used Heart Drives called "fractal knots" in their giant monsters of the week.
* The giant robots in ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'' remain operational as long as a white, bulbous construct located inside them remains intact. [[spoiler:Later it's revealed that it's not the destruction of the core that ends the game, but the death of the human pilot inside it.]]
* In ''Anime/TheBigO'', when Dorothy's memory circuits are removed, it's essentially an irreversible coma. Worse yet, even if the disc was retrieved, there's no one alive who can repair the drive. Fortunately, this turns out to be somewhat of a subversion. [[spoiler:Dorothy is somehow able to start moving without it, prompting Beck to ask, "How can you function with no memory? Do you actually know who you are?]]
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', [[spoiler:the Magical Girls' "Soul Gems" are ''exactly that''.]]
* Mod Souls in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' are actually small pills that contain souls. If you put them in a dead or soulless body (constructed body or one whose owner is [[OutOfBodyExperience missing]]), or even a humanoid stuffed toy, they come alive. No matter how much damage the body suffers, they can simply be put in another body and they'll be fine.
* The Soul Drive of ''Anime/SDGundamForce''. This is the MacGuffin that enables Captain to have his EleventhHourSuperpower, thanks to his bond of friendship with Shute. When it gets stolen he goes into a comatose state.
-->'''Kao Lyn:''' Without his Soul Drive, Captain is out of control of his functions! Though he may move or speak, he's like a sleepwalker! He can't wake up!

* In most depictions of the MetalMen, their bodies are literally just solid blocks of Gold, Iron, Tin, etc. animated by a softball-sized spherical device called a responsometer, which is sentient and can manipulate the surrounding metal. If the device is yoinked out of their bodies, their bodies become inanimate.
* In the Mega Man comic a robot's IC (Integrated circuit), also known as cognitive circuit, is the source of a robot's personality and as long as the cognitive circuit isn't completely destroyed Robot Masters can be rebuilt any number of times. If it is destroyed or damaged beyond repair than robots like Mega Man are dead since it is impossible to recreate a specific IC.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* Rampage in [[Fanfic/FalloutEquestriaProjectHorizons Project Horizons]] has an indestructible crystal inside that contains the personalities and/or souls of an unknown number of ponies, as well as Rampage's own personality. It enables her to [[FromASingleCell survive anything, including disintegration]].

* BrainInAJar Cain in ''Film/RoboCop2'' while he's in the "Robocop 2" body.
* ''{{Film/Cherry 2000}}''. Robots have their personality stored in a memory chip that can be removed and reinserted in another robot of the same type. The protagonist spends the entire movie trying to find a new body for his robot.
* In ''Film/FrankensteinConquersTheWorld'', its said that Frankenstein's heart is immortal and can regrow his body due partly to his creation and partly due to surviving and being mutated by one of the H-Bomb attacks on Japan. While his cells can grow into a new monster, his heart is the only part that seems able to regenerate into something human-like.
* Terminator units in ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'' series have these. With exception of the T-1000 in ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', and possibly the very early model T-1s in ''Film/TerminatorSalvation'' that seemed to lack any personality at all.
* In the live-action ''Film/InspectorGadget'' movie, Gadget is captured by the villain who proceeds to remove the computer chip that amplifies his emotions to allow his body to function, causing him to shut down. However, Gadget later summons enough HeroicResolve to overcome this and reactivate himself.
* WesternAnimation/WallE's main processor chip could be defined as this, since he [[spoiler:temporarily loses his personality when EVE gives him the life-saving overhaul near the end of the movie]].
* ''Film/IRobot'' has the reveal that [[spoiler:Sonny]] not only possesses a positronic brain, but a secondary brain in his chest which allows him to ignore the [[ThreeLawsCompliant three laws]]. The redundant one would appear to be a mechanical "soul" of sorts.
* In ''Disney/BigHero6'' Baymax's "Tadashi chip" contains his medical programming and pretty much all of his personality. When it's removed and all that's in him is the karate chip Hiro added to him he is pretty much a mindless automaton. [[spoiler: And the Tadashi chip allows him to be rebuilt after his HeroicSacrifice]]

* In ''[[Literature/InheritanceCycle Eragon]]'', Dragons have Eldunari which is essentially their souls. A dragon can expel their Eldunari but remain in control of their bodies. When their bodies die their consciousness is transferred to the Eldunari, where it remains until someone destroys it.
* In Greg Egan's short story ''Learning To Be Me'', everyone has a tiny neural network computer implanted into their brain. As the people grow, the computer constantly corrects itself to mimic their brain's responses. At a certain age, many people choose to remove their brains, making the tiny computer this trope.
** Egan revisits this trope often. His short story ''Chaff'' and novels ''Diaspora'', and ''Schild's Ladder'' all have variations on this theme.
* In the ''Dragoncrown War'' series, BigBad [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Chytrine]] has a [[SoulJar soulstone]] [[spoiler: because she's half-dragon, and dragons can naturally create them]]. However, in order to protect it, she ''swallowed it'', making it part of her being and rendering her nearly impossible to kill unless her [[spoiler: dragon]] form is torn open and someone pulls it out.
* In Creator/CharlesStross's ''Literature/SaturnsChildren'', most robots have a personality chip to backup their memories/personalities. This can be used to keep them alive by transferring their mind to another body or to learn from dead "siblings." "Wearing" the chip of another robot for too long however can lead to their personality usurping the original owner's and as a back up can take months or years to be fully complete destroying another robot's personality chip is a good way of ensuring they behave themselves.
* In the ''Literature/TakeshiKovacs'' series people are normally implanted with a "cortical stack" at birth that acts as a backup hard drive for the brain. When one dies it can be removed and [[BrainUploading downloaded]] [[BodyBackupDrive into a new body]].

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* A variant occurs in ''Franchise/StarTrek: [[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space 9]]'' when a criminal has his brain copied to a microchip, which he embeds into Dr. Bashir's skin. This allows him to take over Bashir's body.
* Cameron, like all other terminators, has one in ''{{Terminator}}: TheSarahConnorChronicles''.
* On ''KnightRider'', KITT's personality is contained in his CPU, which can be removed from the car. In one episode, when his CPU is removed from his car body by the villains, he's installed into a portable TV for safekeeping.
* The Greeed in ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'' are revealed to store their consciousness in just one of the nine Core Medals that make up their bodies. If that medal is broken or destroyed, they're just a pile of medals, devoid of consciousness or life. Interestingly, the [[spoiler: Bird Greeed formed from Ankh's remaining Core Medals develops sentience on its own, implying that perhaps any Core Medal can ''become'' a HeartDrive, given the right conditions]].
* ''Series/DoctorWho''. Used for a CliffHanger [[TheReveal reveal]] in "Four to Doomsday". A supposedly human character opens himself up to reveal circuitry where flesh and bone should be.
-->"This is not me. (takes out chip) ''This'' is me."

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' supplement ''Acute Paranoia'', section "Playing Robots". In Alpha Complex a robot's brain (CPU) can be removed and inserted in another robot. One function of a Troubleshooter team's Robot Officer is to recover the [=CPU=]s of damaged robots.
** This doesn't however mean that the CPU is able to function properly if it is put into a body that it's not programmed to use. The only way a to make a Warbot actually act like a Docbot requires Bot Therapy. [[BlatantLies Bot Therapy of course always works and never leaves behind traces of of the old programming that come up at the worst possible times.]]
* ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' borrows the cortical stack concept from Altered Carbon.
* 1E ''MutantsAndMasterminds'' villain, The Atomic Brain, functions as this with the eponymous radioactive brain being the bit which gets transferred from one robot body to another.
* The [[EldritchAbomination Raksha]] of ''{{Exalted}}'' have an odd version of this that is somewhere between a HeartDrive and a SoulJar. All [[FairFolk Shaped Raksha]] form a [[SoulJar heart grace]] when they take a solid form, and if another person possesses it they can control the others actions and destroying the heart grace is one of the few ways to permanently kill a Raksha. The other virtues (compassion, conviction, temperance, and valor, the Exalted game system's main character traits) can also be made into physical objects, though they are much less important, relatively speaking. If they're destroyed or possessed by another it only prevents the Raksha in question from using the emotion attached to that grace, or using that [[EmotionEater emotion]] to [[MindRape feed]] until it grows back. The confusing part is that in most cases a Raksha's apparent physical body is closer to a projection of their graces rather than a true physical form.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Cruxis Crystals of the angels in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia''.
* Joey's circuit board in ''VideoGame/BeneathASteelSky''
* The Soulstones of the ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'' series have a nasty tendency to get used as these by the demons corrupting them, complete with taking over new hosts.
* It's provided the page image for RobotGirl at some points, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the ''Persona'' series utilizes Heart Drive-like devices. The more straightforward example is Labrys' "Plume of Dusk," which is said to contain something vaguely approximating her essence in ''Persona4Arena''. In the [[{{Persona3}} third game in the main series]], Aigis can be a [[LevelUpAtIntimacyFive Social Link]] ([[UpdatedRerelease depending on the game version]]); at the conclusion of her CharacterArc, she invites the [[HelloInsertNameHere Main Character]] to [[spoiler:[[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything leave his DNA on one of her central processors]].]]

* The demons of ''{{Heartcore}}'' possess crystaline objects dubbed [[TitleDrop Heartcores]]. Second-generation demons inherit their Heartcores from one of their "parent" demons (such as the protagonist Ame possessing the Heartcore of her mother Lilith, or Carval and his "father" Volaster). A Heartcore is essentially a corrupted human heart, and demons must feed on them to survive (lest they be rendered unambulatory husks). They are also one of a demon's two AchillesHeel s, the other being their brain,
* Robots in ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' function this way. In particular, Robot S13's original body was melted down and made into paperclips; his CPU was preserved and placed in a new body, so he was fine.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In one {{Friendship is Witchcraft}} episode, Sweetie Belle claims she is uninstalling Rarity from hers and reinstalling Applejack. [[DisproportionateRetribution All for not attending a sisterly obstacle course-like event with her.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* One of the more prominent examples would be the concepts of sparks in the {{Transformers}}' universe. Sparks are basically a combination of the bot's heart and soul, as they are dead without one, and when it is "extinguished", the spark goes to become one with the Matrix. Originally introduced in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', this is possibly the most enduring part of the show's mythology, since it has appeared in every subsequent incarnation of Transformers, including the [[Film/{{Transformers}} live-action movies]].
** Before this was introduced, one mini-arc in the the comics had Optimus Prime's brain and soul backed up on a [[MagicFloppy 5-inch floppy disk]].
** The concept first originated in an early draft script of ''[[WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie Transformers: The Movie]]'', where it is referred to as a "Life Spark". Later comic book writers mistaken the term as the name of a [[WhatCouldHaveBeen Decepticon who became Cyclonus]].
* In an episode of ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}''[[note]]''How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back''[[/note]] Bender has his personality downloaded onto a floppy disk, which renders him "quiet, and helpful". However, in a season six episode[[note]]''Lethal Inspection''[[/note]] Bender discovers that he can't simply download to a different body in case his is destroyed, because he was built without a back-up unit. So if his body is destroyed, [[KilledOffForReal so is he]]. Though, being a robot, he's practically invincible, so he doesn't have ''too'' much to worry about.
* ''{{Frosty the Snowman}}'''s magic hat. "Happy birthday!"
* Several scripted but unproduced episodes of ''{{Invader Zim}}'' were to have expanded on the functions of the PAK, the backpack device all Irkens wear. One of them, "Ten Minutes to Doom", contained this line:
-->'''Dib:''' This device... it ''is'' Zim. It's his brain and his life support. That means his body is just... something to carry his PAK around.
* Crystal Gems in ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin are basically what their name indicates]]: their gems are the only fundamental part of them. If their body is heavily damaged, their souls retreat into their Gems for a while until they can form a new one; if the Gem is damaged [[spoiler:or corrupted]], however, the results are far more severe. A destroyed Gem equals death.
* In ''[[TronUprising TRON: Uprising]]'', a program's Identity Disc holds and records all the memories and experiences of their owner. However, if a program loses their Identity Disc, then they slowly start to lose their memory, and eventually become a 'stray'.