A system and method for determining the condition and location of an electronic die on a die holding means is disclosed. The system includes means for illuminating the die and means for generating a video image in which the appearance of the die is enhanced relative to the die holding means. This is accomplished by providing a sensing means for sensing primarily only that light reflected from the candidate die. Means for converting the video image into a digital image and processing said digital image to identify the edges of the die is also disclosed. More particularly, means for generating digital data representing the video image, means for defining a corridor in said digital image, said corridor having a width and a length, and means for processing the digital image to obtain a signature element within the digital data are provided. A signature element is the widthwise summation of data within the corridor at a point along the lengthy of the corridor and represents the relative blackness or whiteness in a particular region of the digital image. Also provided are control means for defining a corral within the digitized image of the die, means for obtaining a black count within the corral, and means for analyzing the black count to determine the condition of the die. Means for automatically selecting the light intensity and gray level used in generating the digital image is provided.