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"[Science fiction is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

Visi-Sonor  
  An entertainment device which appeared to create both sound and light by acting directly on brain cells. It also stimulated emotions directly.  

Okay, so it would never get FCC approval. But the basic idea is that of stimulating the brain directly, rather than being forced to go through the (primitive!) step of needing to create sounds that would be heard by the ears and then interpreted by the brain.

His long fingers caressed softly and slowly, pressing lightly on contacts with a rippling motion, resting themselves momentarily on one key then another - and in the air before them there was a soft glowing rosiness, just inside the range of vision.
From Foundation and Empire, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1952
Additional resources -

Lots of unanswered questions; does this work regardless of how the brain was socialized?

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Foundation and Empire
  More Ideas and Technology by Isaac Asimov
  Tech news articles related to Foundation and Empire
  Tech news articles related to works by Isaac Asimov

Visi-Sonor-related news articles:
  - MusicPad Pro: Digital Sheet Music File Player

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