Do you ever stay awake at night, cursing your brain for keeping you up by replaying every awkward social blunder you’ve ever made or bugging you with pointless questions like “How many rocks are there in the world?” While we can’t save you from your social awkwardness, we do have an app that can help you count rocks. You’re welcome.

How Many Rocks Are There is a massively multiplayer mobile app designed to figure how many rocks there are in the world and where they live. All you need to do is download the iOS app, snap a pic of a rock, and upload it to the app. The more people who play, the more fun the game. With riveting testimonials like “This is an app that counts rocks” and “I uploaded a picture of a rock,” how could you resist giving it a try?


Here are some of the many features of How Many Rocks Are There app:

+ Create a username
+ Take pictures of rocks
+ Name your rocks and record notes about your discoveries
+ Keep tabs on the latest tally of how many rocks there are
+ Let our scanning technology determine if your discoveries are, in fact, rocks
+ Locate rocks found by other users on a virtual map
+ Browse photos of the latest rocks discovered by the community
+ Check if your rock has already been discovered with our “nearby rocks” function
+ Purchase discovery rights to other user’s rocks


Actually, you might laugh, but you’d be surprised how hard it is to find a damn rock in New York City. For example, one might have an awesome succulent plant that needs to be surrounded by chic, grayish-white-striped, medium-sized pebbles in order to perfectly offset the other hipster decor in one’s home – how else would one find a rock in NYC that meets that criteria? #FirstWorldProblems

Really, though, we ultimately want our visual recognition technology to answer any question. Sometimes, the question is, “How do we prevent climate change?” or “How do we stop human trafficking?” or “How do we end weapons proliferation?” Other times, the question is, “How many rocks are there in the world?” Who’s to say which question is the most important? 


We asked Alec Cohen, freelance video director and comedy writer from Brooklyn who’s taking the world by storm, to give us some insight into what inspired such a thought-provoking app and how he and his team built it at Comedy Hack Day.

Clarifai: What inspired your idea for How Many Rocks Are There?

Alec: I was challenging myself to come up with the dumbest thing I could ask on Twitter. “How many rocks are there, anyway?” was the tweet, but there was something about it that stuck with me. I knew I was onto something but it wasn’t until a few months later at Comedy Hack Day that I realized how amazing my ideas are.

What did you use to build your app?

We used Swift for the iOS app, node + express + mongo for the backend, with other integrations with Clarifai and AWS S3.

tasksWhat was the best part about working with Clarifai?

The Clarifai API was ridiculously easy to use. At Comedy Hack Day, we had maybe 36 hours from pitch to demo. While brainstorming features, we joked that adding actual, functional rock recognition would be incredible but basically impossible. Like, “it would take 5 years and a research team” level impossible. But after we found Clarifai, it actually only took 20 minutes and 10 lines of code. Matt, our iOS developer, got in touch with Keeyon at Clarifai who was super helpful. So cool.

Thanks for sharing, “rock” star!

To learn more, check out our documentation and sign-up for a free Clarifai account to start using our API – all it takes is three lines of code to get up and running! We’re super excited to share all the cool things built by our developer community, so don’t forget to tweet @Clarifai to show us your apps.

And give Alec and the rest of the How Many Rocks Are There team – Matt, Mark, and Michael – some props in the comments below. Until next time!