Osteoarthritis is a painful and disabling progressive joint disease, characterized by degradation of articular cartilage. In order to study this disease at early stages, we have miniaturized and integrated a complete scanning force microscope into a standard arthroscopic device fitting through a standard orthopedic canula. This instrument will allow orthopedic surgeons to measure the mechanical properties of articular cartilage at the nanometer and micrometer scale in-vivo during a standard arthroscopy. An orthopedic surgeon assessed the handling of the instrument. First measurements of the elasticity-modulus of human cartilage were recorded in a cadaver knee non minimal invasive. Second, minimally invasive experiments were performed using arthroscopic instruments. Load-displacement curves were successfully recorded. © 2007 IOP Publishing Ltd.