Although it may look like a gag gift, Thanko 's Vonia sports headband is a cutting-edge piece of equipment that uses bone-conduction technology to convey digital audio directly to the bones of the inner ear.

The ¥9,800 (£43) Vonia is intended as an alternative to holding an MP3 player while doing sports or to clipping it onto clothes, which can result in some annoying cable snagging.

Instead, a pouch in the band holds the player - Thanko has, of course, used the iPod shuffle to illustrate - which is then plugged into the business end of things.

Direct delivery

The bone-conduction elements inside the headband are held firmly against the head just below and behind each ear by adjustable straps and deliver tunes of choice through the skull and into the ear.

Aside from the hands-free aspect, the advantages of the technology are that it works in noisy environments and that it leaves the external ears free to pick up sounds more important when running, such as runaway trains or approaching meteors. Best of all, the strap's pouch is waterproof, so it can safely go for a swim with you.