Providence took the grand prize for its plans to improve early childhood literacy. The children who participate in the program would wear a small device called a digital language processor that would record their daily interactions with adults. Those would then be converted into audio files containing the day’s adult word count and the number of conversational turns. That data would be used to help parents in monthly coaching sessions improve the quality of their conversations to improve their children’s vocabulary.
It does sound like a useful project, but lately all the good news seems to come with a side dish of creepy.
If you're curious, here's a 2008 article on the technology in the NY Times.