Each year, in the Netherlands alone, more than 50.000 percutaneous procedures are performed for treatment or for removal of tissue from possibly diseased organs, of which 30% return non-diagnostic due to erroneous needle targeting, often as a result of non-homogeneity of the penetrated tissue. In this study, we aim to facilitate needle targeting by assessing the tissue in front of the needle based on its mechanical properties. A probe that can identify tissues via real-time measurements of their mechanical properties is placed at the tip of the needle. The probe, actuated by a remote system at the distal part of the needle, employs the bending of a micro-machined cantilever fabricated on top of an optical fiber. The displacement of the cantilever, imposed by pressing a micro-bead (r = 75 µm) glued at the tip of the cantilever against the tissue, is interrogated by Fabry-Pérot interferometry and converted to force acted on the tissue in real-time. The force transducer is able to perform in harsh environments due to its monolithic design and all-optical working principle. Using our setup, load-indentation curves were obtained during needle insertion in several gelatin-based specimens. We demonstrate the ability of our device to detect and quantify layers of varying stiffness and to successfully locate tissue boundaries in animal tissue embedded in gelatin. Furthermore, a diagnostic measurement can be made by quantifying intra-organ tissue stiffness at the needle target location.