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As medical robotics gathers increasing attention, the ergonomics of the surgical-console design becomes an important issue. Motivated by the need of augmenting the surgeon mastery, we explore the capabilities of a near infrared brain-computer interface as a complementary input modality to enhance the human-robot interaction at the robotic console. A multistage analysis framework is proposed and evaluated by an exploratory off-line synchronous study. The three stages of the data processing flow, namely dimensionality reduction, solution to binary problems and aggregation into multi-class decision are examined to address key challenges during the pattern recognition step. Early experimental results endorse near infrared based brain-computer interface as a suitable additional communication modality between the surgeon and the robotic console.