ROS (Robot Operating System) is a collection of libraries and tools to help software developers create robot applications. It is rapidly gaining popularity within the academic and open source robotics community for implementing robotic applications, but also suits the needs of applications not typically described as robots. For example, ROS is suitable for laboratory automation which often requires sensing, actuation, and computation in between. This presentation will be an introductory overview of ROS illustrated by real world examples. ROS consists of several components such as high level networking APIs for realtime communication with Python and C++ bindings, package distribution and compilation tools, launchers to facilitate starting multiple processes with the correct configuration parameters, and support for a wide variety of sensors and actuators. ROS runs as a collection of userspace processes in a traditional operating system, with Ubuntu Linux being the best supported.