Ferrule-top (FT) cantilevers are a new generation of all optical micromechanical sensors obtained by carving microstructures on the top of ferrule terminated fibers. In this paper, we will demonstrate how this plug and play design can be used for the development of a new generation of sensors and actuators for harsh environments, where commercially available devices would be prone to failure. Ferrule-top sensors can work in two main modes - static and dynamic. The static mode is based on recording elastic deflection of the cantilever; the dynamic mode relies on tracking changes in its mechanical properties (resonance frequency, quality factor). Depending on the application, one can choose which mode is most suitable or combine both to achieve best performance. We will illustrate the relation between specific measured quantity (humidity, flow) and the behavior of the sensor. Further, we will show the setup in which the sensor can be actuated using light, giving the possibility to excite the cantilever without any electronics on the sensing head. This technique might by use for the development of fully optical beamsteering microdevices. © 2012 SPIE.