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"We follow the scientists around and look over their shoulders. They're watching their feet: provable mistakes are bad for them. We're looking as far ahead as we can, and we don't get penalized for mistakes."
- Larry Niven

Receptor Tape  
  A thin, flexible material that can pick up sounds.  

Gersen worked deftly and quickly. He inserted a trifle of receptor tape into the angle between door molding and wall, where it became for all practical purposes invisible. Using a pressure canister he sprayed a trail of conductive film from the tape around the door casing into the adjoining office and around the walls to the window...He touched his detector to the conductive trail he had sprayed upon the wall and turned high the volume...Presently he heard Panshaw's voice:'What caused the alarm?' 'Lumen impact, brief and low intensity'
From The Face, by Jack Vance.
Published by DAW in 1979
Additional resources -

You might want to look at an even more far-fetched item, magnetic eyes from way back in 1894.

(Thanks to Richard Probert for this item.)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Face
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Face
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

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