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"Science fiction is what scientists would do if they could - if they had enough grant money, enough time, and enough brains to do the wonderful things they would like to do."
- Greg Bear

Sonomagnetic Fabric  
  Cloth that gathers sound energy.  

Magnetic fields can be produced by acoustic motions in electrically conducting media, like sea water. A sonomagnetic field can be induced in the ocean by submerged acoustic sources, which imparts a water mass oscillation in the ocean. Water particles crossing flux lines of the Earth's ambient magnetic field experience an induced electric field.

Whether or not this would work in the open air, with a fabric that would turn the resulting sonomagnetic fields into words you could hear, I don't know. Brin makes it work, though.

They were being scanned again, and it wasn't just someone's True-Vu this time, but real eavesdropping. "Some tokomak's got a big ear on us," Roland reported irritably.

...He looked around quickly, searching for the voyeur... Then he saw the geek - a codger this time - leaning against one of the slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector, looking directly at the three of them. And sure enough, amid the bushy gray curls spilling under his white sun hat, Remi saw a thin wire, leading from an earpiece to a vest made of some sonomagnetic fabric.

Technovelgy from Earth, by David Brin.
Published by Bantam in 1990
Additional resources -

See Sonomagnetic Field Characterization from Induced, Radial Current Waves for a bit more about sonomagnetic fields.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Earth
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