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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Acoustic Apparatus (Osophone)  
  A device that used bone conduction to transmit sound.  

As far as I know, Gernsback was the first person to formally describe a device using bone conduction to transmit sound; he received a patent in 1924.

This invention relates to acoustical instruments and the important objects of the invention are to provide simple and practical means by which hearing may be effected by sound vibrations transmitted directly to the osseous tissue of the body. A particular purpose is to provide such means in the form of a small, compact and handy instrument which can be easily carried about and used without attracting undue attention.

In the accomplishment of the foregoing I have constructed an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth and which are directly carried by the polar projections of a small electromagnet connected with a microphone or other suitable sound sensitive mechanism.

From Acoustic Apparatus, by Hugo Gernsback.
Published by US Patent Office in 1923
Additional resources -

Here are the figures that accompanied Gernsback's 1923 patent filing for the Acoustic Apparatus:

See the original patent filing (pdf).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Acoustic Apparatus
  More Ideas and Technology by Hugo Gernsback
  Tech news articles related to Acoustic Apparatus
  Tech news articles related to works by Hugo Gernsback

Acoustic Apparatus (Osophone)-related news articles:
  - Baha Divino Bone-Conduction iPod Implanted 'Ear Buds'
  - Audio Bone-Conduction Headphones
  - Kyocera Speakerless Smartphone (ala Gernsback)
  - Will Google Glass Use Bone Conduction
  - Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise

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