Engineers from the University of Rochester in New York, along with scientists at the US Department of Defense and seven corporate partners, have designed a system that automates the manufacture of specially shaped lenses known as aspheres. Aspheres deliver better optical performance and image quality than traditional spherical lenses, though they cost much more to produce. Typically, an asphere the size of a doorknob costs $4000. Scientists at the university's optics manufacturing center say their system can produce aspheric lenses in minutes, rather than days. And the machine produces aspheres at a fraction of their current price. The new asphere machining system could drive down costs as low as $25 to $100 per lens. Aspheres are well-suited for consumer goods such as compact disc players, photocopiers, televisions and lightweight video camcorders.