Abstract The General AntiParticle Spectrometer (GAPS) is a novel approach for indirect dark matter searches that exploits cosmic antideuterons. GAPS complements existing and planned direct dark matter searches as well as other indirect techniques, probing a different and unique region of parameter space in a variety of proposed dark matter models. The GAPS method involves capturing antiparticles into a target material with the subsequent formation of an excited exotic atom. The exotic atom decays with the emission of atomic X-rays and pions from the nuclear annihilation, which uniquely identifies the captured antiparticle. This technique has been verified through the accelerator testing at KEK in 2004 and 2005. The prototype flight is scheduled from Hokkaido, Japan in 2011, preparatory for a long duration balloon flight from the Antarctic in 2014.