The key is a fully developed brain. Once the adult host's consciousness is gone, the mind stored in the drive uploads with ease
Gabriel Santiago [src]

Mind Drives,[1] formerly known as the Memory Drives, are cybernetic implants used on Sanctum to transfer the consciousness and memory of Primes from host to host. This technology is also referred to as the "Miracle of Sanctum" by the citizens.


The Memory Drive technology was created by Becca Franco and was the precursor to the Flame. She provided the technology to Eligius III Exploration Team in order to log their memories as they explored space. It was reversed-engineered by Dr. Gabriel Santiago, in order to upload an entire mind, thus creating a new technology, known as the Mind Drives.

Unlike A.L.I.E. 2.0, the Mind Drive can hold an entire consciousness. When Josephine died, her boyfriend Gabriel and her father Russell started working on ways to bring her back to life. Since Josephine's mind was already stored in her Mind Drive, Gabriel began experimenting on how to upload her mind into a new host. After many unsuccessful tests, he finally figured out that for it to work, they needed to use a fully developed host brain that can handle the entire file size; and they had to clear the host's consciousness. This hypothesis succeeded and Gabriel was able to bring Josephine back to life using the Mind Drive technology.

Following this breakthrough, the original families (the Primes) to settle on Sanctum took advantage of the Memory Drive technology to store their entire consciousness in the Mind Drives. Following a Prime's death, their Mind Drives would be used to transfer their consciousness into a new host - essentially keeping the Prime alive. Like the Flame, only nightbloods are compatible with the Mind Drive; and are therefore the only ones who can serve as hosts for the Primes.

Despite claims that the host's mind is completely wiped, the mind wipe sometimes fails after the transfer goes wrong as Clarke Griffin only ended up trapped inside her own head when she became the host to Josephine Lightbourne. According to Josephine, it's been hundreds of years since a mind wipe has failed, since the time that the Mind Drives were first being used to implant the consciousness into another host. In Clarke's case, she discovered from a manifestation of A.L.I.E. that the chip she took to enter the City of Light, A.L.I.E.'s neural mesh, protected her from the mind erasure drug. If the chip is removed using the same EMP method used to save Raven Reyes, then the process can be repeated and Clarke's mind will be destroyed. This requires removing the Mind Drive first which Russell Lightbourne sees as an opportunity to restore Clarke and find Josephine a new willing host. However, Josephine is unwilling to give up Clarke's body, forcing Clarke's friends to take extreme measures to remove her. However, the two minds are able to relinquish control to each other at will with the Prime able to retake control if the host falls asleep.

In the Mindspace created between the mind of a host and the mind of a Prime, the host and Prime can interact with and harm each other. Though the Prime can be killed, they will simply download back into the Mind Drive and then be restored in the body of their host. However, this protection is shown to disappear when the host and Prime's Mindspaces merge, leaving them able to kill each other permanently, effectively destroying each other's consciousness.

According to Gabriel, he and Russell once used Red Sun toxin to determine if any of the host's mind survived after a resurrection. The test confirmed that the host's mind is completely gone, leaving only the implanted consciousness.

According to Josephine, the Mind Drive can only be safely removed by a neurosurgeon such as Eric Jackson. It is also believed that the Children of Gabriel can safely remove them and it is known that Gabriel Santiago taught at least one person the procedure to remove a Mind Drive in an effort to ensure his permanent death. However, that failed when he was resurrected in a new host against his will and killed that person in retaliation. Its later shown that the procedure to remove the Mind Drive from a living host involves the person being hooked up to an EKG and EEG for monitoring while their heart is temporarily stopped, effectively killing the host. This causes the Prime to download back into the Mind Drive which can then be surgically removed and the host's heart restarted, reviving the host free of the Prime's consciousness.

After Abby Griffin replicates the Nightblood serum, she is able to use a Mind Drive to resurrect Marcus Kane in the body of a "Null" named Gavin injected with the new serum, however Kane commits suicide shortly after. John Murphy and Emori are offered the chance to use Mind Drives to become immortal like the Primes as well.

As seen with Clarke and Josephine, as the wall between a host and Prime's mind breaks down when a mind wipe fails, they start to gain the knowledge of the other and become more aware of their surroundings. Clarke began to be able to hear things going on in the outside world and could use Morse code to communicate a response. At the same time, Josephine recognized the Morse code and gained the knowledge needed to understand it. She also gained knowledge on Clarke's relationship with Bellamy Blake. In return, after Josephine relinquished control to her, Clarke was able to take the knowledge she needed to ride a motorcycle from Josephine as well as the ability to speak Mandarin which Josephine knew but Clarke didn't. At that point, due to how far the wall between their minds had deteriorated, Josephine also experienced a seizure and Clarke could see and interact with a manifestation of Josephine in the waking world and hear her voice. In the Mindspace, once the barrier between their minds broke down, their Mindspaces became combined and Clarke could erase some of Josephine's memories by floating them. The two were also vulnerable to each other without the barrier with a death in the Mindspace becoming permanent for the consciousness in question.

After Gabriel tried to remove her from Clarke, Josephine's mind was able to avoid downloading back into the Mind Drive by using the neural mesh as Clarke's mind did when the Mind Drive was first implanted into her. As a result, Josephine was able to exist within Clarke without her Mind Drive. However, this only lasted for a short time as Clarke was able to destroy Josephine for good by killing the projection of Josephine within her Mindspace. When Josephine was destroyed, her brain wave pattern flatlined on the EEG monitoring her and Clarke.


Season Six
Episode Appearance Status
Red Sun RisingAbsent
The Children of GabrielAbsent
The Face Behind the GlassAppears
The Gospel of JosephineAppears
Memento MoriAppears
The Old Man and the AnomalyAppears
What You Take With YouAbsent
Ashes to AshesMentioned
Adjustment ProtocolAbsent
The Blood of SanctumAbsent

Notes and Trivia

  • This is the third type of mind interacting chips shown in the series. The first were the City of Light Keys created by A.L.I.E. and the second was A.L.I.E. 2.0, a.k.a. the Flame, created by Becca Franco.
    • Chronologically, Mind Drives were created before the other two chips.
    • Clarke Griffin has utilized all three, albeit unwillingly in the case of the Mind Drive.
  • Unlike A.L.I.E., which is a true artificial intelligence (machine intelligence), the Mind Drives store a real person's consciousness.
  • Josephine's Mind Drive was stored in Simone's necklace until Josephine's consciousness was placed into a new host.
  • It took Gabriel 25 years to jailbreak the Mind Drive.
  • A person's mind can be deleted from the Mind Drive. Simone deleted the Lee family from their mind drives. Clarke was also able to destroy Josephine's consciousness after their Mindspaces had combined.
  • Marcus Kane was the first non-Prime to have been resurrected using the technology.


See Also


Start a Discussion Discussions about Mind Drive

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