Equipped with a range of sensors and motion detectors, the Dendama looks set to bring this classic toy into the 21st century.

For those who are unfamiliar with kendama, it is a small wooden cross with cups on three ends and a rounded spike on the fourth. There is also a wooden ball with a hole tied to the cross by a string which the player must try to fling into the cups or spike.

It’s a ubiquitous toy in Japan and has even gained popularity in pockets around the world. Moreover, it’s also a great way to build coordination and concentration, and I plan to give them to my own children someday when I need an excuse to buy a new television.

However, as timeless as it is, the kendama needs a little more to keep up with kids today, what with their smartphones and extravagantly coloured ketchups. Here’s where the Dendama comes in.

Equipped with sensors on each tip of the cross, the Dendama can detect every time the ball successfully lands. In addition, the cross has a tilt sensor built into to so that the style of trick preformed can be accurately determined.

This can be great for beginners looking to hone their skills. When combined with a dedicated app, the Dendama can measure and track your performance and improvement as you train.

On top of that, the Dendama is equipped for match play fun too. When successfully landing a trick in the proximity of another Dendama you can deal “damage” to your opponent in the form of vibration to their stick.

In match play you can also use a tablet or smart phone to create a damage meter on the screen.

The winner of this game is then permitted to do their best Bill & Ted impression in celebration.

Sounds great doesn’t it? And the iOS/Android compatibility leaves the door open for further applications and games. However, the Dendama won’t be a reality until its crowdfunding attempt on Makuake (linked below) is successful.

Luckily they’ve already raised 630,000 yen (US$5,500) of their 990,000 yen ($8,600) goal with plenty of time to spare. If all goes as it is, we may be looking at the future of this beloved classic toy.

UPDATE (21/03/2017): The Makuake crowdfunding was successful and now an updated version of Dendama is looking for further support through a new Kickstarter campaign

Source: Makuake via Japaaan (Japanese)

Images: Makuake
Video: YouTube/Yoshihiro Ohtani