We started down the path that led us to the HSMC-160 Adapter because we needed a high-speed, 16-bit data logger. The only suitable devices we could find were these LOG Storm data loggers, but they were too expensive. So we got to work designing our own 100 MHz, 16-bit digital data logger.
To keep costs low, we decided to stick with USB 3.0, and we found these FT60x Series FIFO-to-USB-3 Bridges by FTDI Chip. They provide up to 5 Gbps of bandwidth, which makes them extremely useful for high-speed data-streaming applications. The same company offers FIFO-to-USB-3 Bridge evaluation boards as well:
FIFO-to-USB-3 Bridge Evaluation Boards
As you can see above, the physical interface on these boards is a 160-pin HSMC connector. According to the FTDI website, they are meant to be used with FPGA dev boards like the Altera Cyclone V pictured below:
Altera Cyclone V Development Kit
Well, we have a great many FPGA dev boards, but none with an HSMC-160 connector like the one pictured above. So, while designing our digital data logger, we built an HSMC adapter so we could use those FTDI FIFO-to-USB-3 Bridge evaluation boards with the perfectly serviceable FPGA boards we already had, rather than spending our limited resources to replace them.
And you can probably guess the rest: we realized that other designers might find this adapter useful, and…now here we are!