A tutorial for a Hybrid Collaborative Modelling Tool

HYCOMOTO is a generative co-modelling tool for achieving a higher level abstraction from large textual documents. The tool employs two main parts, an online environment that generates a word cloud, called the word cloud generator. And a second part is a set of reusable wooden plates that are used for physically modelling the content from the word cloud, called word plates. These two parts of the tool are handled by two separate members of a team who are synchronous online but not essentially co-located. The wooden word plates are handled by a model builder and the online environment is handled by a cloud builder. Based on preliminary tests and its analysis we find that using such a hybrid tool can result in collaborative meaning making and an alternative understanding of large textual documents. This happens with collaborative model building, as the textual understanding of participants gets translated by reflective embodied action and negotiation. With this we would like to share and disseminate the tool as an open source kit, as a meaning-forming and meaningful platform to a wider audience.


The following are some of the (selective) learning objectives of the HYCOMOTO tutorial, so by attending the tutorial you could be LEARNING:

  • A new hybrid approach to negotiate and reach consensus with collaborators when working with textual documents such as project reports, plans and articles
  • An alternative way to synthesize large documents, such as for producing abstracts
  • To engage and interpret texts in an embodied way
  • To convert large texts into multiple models
  • To generate multiple meanings from large textual documents


As mentioned above HYCOMOTO comprises of two sub-tools, an online environment called the word cloud generator and word plates for model building.


The first step is to use the word cloud generator:


The second step is to use the word plates. We will provide the participants of the tutorial with the word plates. But we have also made the design of the word plates to be open source. So if you find HYCOMOTO useful then you can download the drawing and instructions and use a laser cutter to produce your own word plates and also share this page with your colleagues, friends and family for them to start using HYCOMOTO.

To register for the tutorial as a NORDICHI participant please send an email to Karthikeya Acharya: ksacharya@btech.au.dk


HYCOMOTO is a collaborative project from PROTO* lab BTECH at Aarhus University. The people involved in the project are:

  • Asst Prof Karthikeya Acharya, who is both the lab director of PROTO* lab and care taker of plants and ideas in the lab
  • Asst Prof Lasse Vestergaard, who likes to program all possible ‘things’ into databases
  • Student worker Matteo Campinoti who can transform text and visuals into HTML magic

PROTO* lab is associated with DBD (interdisciplinary research center for Digital Business Development) and part of ENGTECH labs at BTECH (Department of Business Development and Technology), Aarhus University.