ROS ™ or Robot operating System software is basically a set of software libraries and tools that make it easier for you to build robotic applications.
It is an open source project run by the ROS.org since about the year 2000 and the purpose of it is to make code available to everyone to help further the development of robotics applications.
It started in Stanford where there were two main projects involved STAIR and PR. There was some University and private investment involved and an organization called Willow Garage got involved in 2007.
Now ROS is set up so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to get your robot to do certain simple or complex things. The benefit allows teams to work on different parts of the robot and come together by letting ROS wrap it into a big package.
This is why you often hear the definition of ROS as “it is technically called a framework structure to manage complex robotic systems from a simple interface. It is called open source middleware and is sort of the glue that connects other software.”
There is both a ROS1™ and an ROS2 ™
Some companies like the Canadian company Clearpath™ do many great and amazing things and they write ROS applications to go along with their clients robots to make those robots do more things and be easier to operate.
These guys at Clearpath seem to be on the same brain wavelength as Elon Musk and are set to make it to the financial stratosphere which speaks well for where they came from…Waterloo a well known hot bed in Canada for helping to create hi tech superstars.
Another Waterloo alumnist is Mark Tilden, a Canadian robotics trailblazer with a sassy personality who created the Robosapien robots and other simply amazing humanoid robot toys that are talked about a lot on this website. Lord only knows what was in the water in Waterloo that made these guys so brainy haha.
Now learning ROS will become increasingly important if you want to get a higher end job in the robotics industry.
Now you can simply get a job operating a robot controlled with ROS or you could maintain the software or develop entirely new software to work with the ROS.
Now you can download your own copy of ROS for Windows 10 or Macos and for the linux Ubuntu setup but it is not an easy procedure.
Experts advise that you start learning ROS thru an ROS simulator at an organization like Constructsim,
ROS is complicated unless you already have some background in robotics which is what this website is all about.
You will eventually use a ROS simulator and move your mouse around the screen to control a robot as you add some code to make it do something.
You will soon need to know something about the language called Python and eventually the much more involved language of C++ if you plan to go further in software maintenance or development.
You will soon find your head hurting with the many terms and phrases you h ear like…Open AI knowledge, Tensorflow, kinetic versus melodic ROS , URDF, ROSjects.
Now once you start learning ROS you will soon find that rviz is the most well known tool and you may take courses on topics like robot dynamics,kinematics, dynamics and control, manipulators and robot arms and Linux and languages like Python, C++ and maybe the oldie Lisp.
A great open source site which will help you to move a robots arm with its product “moveit” is on ros.org https://moveit.ros.org/about/
It uses rviz which is the primary visulaizer in ROS and is an ideal tool to debug robot projects.
This site has many tutorials on how to use the moveit software with ROS to move a robots arm.
You can also check out this very extensive ROS education site called ConstructSim on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/TheConstruct/videos
Youtube Robot builder James Bruton has used move it to move one of his stationary robots arms.