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Model-driven software engineering is a well-known approach for developing software. It reduces complexity, facilitates maintenance and allows for the simulation, verification, validation and even execution of software models. In this article, we show how model simulation and model execution can be leveraged in the context of human-computer interaction (HCI). We claim that in this application domain, it is beneficial to use heterogeneous models, combining different models of computation for different components of the system. We report on a case study that we have carried out to develop an executable model of a gesture-based application for manipulating 3D objects, using the Kinect sensor as input device, and the OGRE graphical engine as an output device for real-time rendering. This application is fully specified as an heterogeneous model with the ModHel’X modeling environment, allowing the simulation and execution of the model to explore the most appropriate way of implementing the application.